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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: March 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

April 1-30th 2009 is Confederate History Month in the South!!

The Confederate History Month Committee of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans proudly recognizes the signing of many proclamations by Southern governors, mayors and county commissioners since 1995 designating the month of April as “Confederate History and Heritage Month.”

Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue and Mississippi’s Governor Haley Barbour have both signed a proclamation designating April as Confederate History and Heritage Month for 2009 and city mayors and county commissioners will follow and;

The Georgia Senate also recently passed SB Bill 27 officially proclaiming April as Confederate History Month and the Georgia House rules committee voted 5-0 sending it out of committee for a full house vote. Supporters of the bill say, “The measure would be a boom to the state’s tourism industry, encouraging visitors to come to Georgia ’s Civil War Battlefield sites.”

America will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States from 2011 through 2015 and the Confederate History Month Committee encourages all Americans to make it a family affair to learn more about this time of our nation’s past.

Confederate History Month commemorates the men and women of the Confederate States of America who came from all races and religions that include: Irish-born General Patrick R. Cleburne, Black Georgia Confederate drummer Bill Yopp, Mexican born Colonel Santos Benavides, Cherokee Born General Stand Watie and Jewish born Confederate Nurse Phoebe Pember who was the first female administrator of Chimboraza Hospital in Richmond, Georgia where she served until the end of War Between the States.

Confederate Memorial Day became a legal holiday in Georgia by act of the Georgia legislature in 1874. For over 100 year’s members of the Ladies Memorial Association, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans have held annual Confederate Memorial days on or near April 26th. Other states celebrate Southern Memorial Day on May 10th and June 3rd--the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis whose 200th birthday was celebrated last year at Davis ’ last home Beauvoir and other places throughout the nation.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans encourage all Americans and people throughout the world to learn more about the roll the men and women of the Confederacy played in the history of the USA and to take part in Southern Memorial Day and April’s month of events. A historical information brochure and “I Support Confederate History Month” stickers will be made available to SCV members and the public.

For further information check out: and

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Interview with Rep. Jim Guest

By David S. Reif


On 26April2009 I was at the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri to interview Republican State Representative Jim Guest who represents the Fifth Legislative district in Northwest Missouri.

The appointment had been made weeks in advance so I had no idea what kind of political maelstrom I was walking into when we scheduled the interview. Rep. Guest will be the speaker at the Eighth Annual Col. John T. Coffee Camp Confederate Heritage Dinner on 18April2009.

Not only did I show up when the budget was being voted on but the blowback from the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) had hit the legislature as an international scandal and the atmosphere was electric with crisis, conspiracy, and high drama under the Capitol dome. Rep. Guest was back and forth from the floor of the legislature busy keeping his eye on votes, talking to colleagues, fielding phone calls from the national media, while studying faxes stuffed into his hands by aides from both sides of the aisle. We wedged-in this interview in the relative quite of the Majority Whip’s office between votes on the floor.

MIAC is a so-called “Fusion” center that uses Federal Homeland Security money and directives to manage Missouri state personnel. The budget and the MIAC scandal had become intertwined just the day before when Jim Guest introduced a bi-partisan amendment to the monster 2009 budget bill that would de-fund the Department of Public Safety (state law enforcement) and effectively stall the mammoth budget if the amendment was not passed. Guest’s amendment makes it virtually illegal for state funds to be used for “political profiling”. The amendment passed; a temporary triumph for civil liberties.

The scandal erupted when a report originating from Democrat Governor Jay Nixon’s administration was leaked to investigative journalist Alex Jones. Unbeknownst to the rank and file officers something sinister had been injected into the structure of the highly respected Missouri Highway Patrol’s department. From the dank bowels of Nixon’s Department of Public Safety a shadowy Federal funded rouge agency (MIAC) was churning out reports that alleged to identify “terrorists”.

Using political profiling tactics prime on their list was Republican Presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul and his supporters. Another American targeted by Gov. Nixon’s agency was Libertarian Party Presidential candidate, ACLU advisor, and former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr. Also singled out was Constitution Party Presidential candidate and Baptist minister Chuck Baldwin.

The report alleged that anyone who supported these legitimate political candidates were suspicious “people of interest”. The report also targeted pro-life activists, America-first immigration control groups, Second Amendment supporters, as well as “anyone who professes knowledge of the Constitution”, and other patriotic groups. Complete with ginned-up charts, maps, and color photos the report was worthy of a Soviet-era KGB dossier or SPLC smear.

As outrageous as the report was the Missouri Democrat Governor stood behind it at first supporting the spy agency. His early denials were also apparently covering for other members of his Party on the national level who control the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department which have various levels of involvement in the scandal.

By Friday 27March09 the Governor had changed his position and forced underlings to “apologize” for the report and repudiate its allegations. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has called on the legislature to initiate a full scale investigation of the matter. An account from Kansas posted on the Drudge Report fills in the ongoing story from at the Capitol:

Representative Jim Guest lives in northwest Missouri and has been elected as State Representative four times to represent the constituents of the Fifth District. Jim is a supporter of Congressman Ron Paul and has had the privilege to know Dr. Paul personally and spoke along side Dr. Paul at last summer’s Freedom Rally in Washington DC to a crowd of thousands.

Rep. Guest has been a champion of the Bill of Rights and particularly the Tenth Amendment as well as a strong Civil Libertarian. Jim has a radio show every Sunday morning at 9:00 AM, on the RBN at:


DAVID S. REIF: The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution as well as the Ninth Amendment were included to guarantee the states and individuals that they would not be over run by the government in Washington under the principle “all is retained which is not surrendered”. Today the government in Washington seems to consider this an antiquated notion; what is your view for the role of the Tenth Amendment?

REP. JIM GUEST: The Constitution is what we should be governing by, the Constitution is the blueprint, the foundation, and is what we should be governing by and we need to get back to it then we would have a lot less problems if we were using it. The Tenth Amendment and the whole Bill of Rights, people think that’s what gives us our rights but that not true, we already have those rights: they are inherent. The Bill of Rights says you shall not be infringed upon, you (the government) cannot do this, it tells the government that you cannot infringe against those God given rights and those inalienable rights that we have. People don’t understand and keep forgetting that.

Of course, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments tell the government that the people of the States have these rights and they (the government) cannot tread upon them. That is to say that the first nine Amendments tell us what rights we have and the Tenth Amendment tells them, ‘In case we forgot to say that you can’t do something, then you can’t do that either’. So that’s what the whole Constitution was written about to restrain the Federal government and to give all the power to the States and the people within them. But I think the States have slowly lost those rights through erosion but we’ve got this ground swell or wake-up call right now across this country and hopefully a lot of these states are introducing resolutions telling the Federal government to back off. I keep saying “retake these rights” but (actually) we have them anyway, we just haven’t enforced them.

DSR: Many people believe that if you remove the boilerplate and misdirection from the discussion; the reason for the War Between the States was really a fight over the interpretation of the Tenth Amendment. What do you think was the role of the Tenth Amendment in the initiation of the War Between the States?

REP. GUEST: Well the Tenth Amendment has been referred to as the “State’s Rights” issue and the fact that the Federal government or the North thought …that they should take away the “State’s Rights” issue from the South is what was caused it but that interpretation was slighted by the slavery issue. The slavery issue would have gone away through the evolution of time and industrialization and the mechanization of farm equipment would replace (slave) labor anyway and it’s a huge misconception I think that it was fought over slavery.

DSR: The traditional South is identified with the defense of Constitutional federalism. The government in Washington has undercut federalism with administrative contrivances such as “federal” guidelines and mandates as well as Court rulings like F.E.R.C. vs. Mississippi. Is the recent political profiling engaged in by Gov. Nixon’s Department of Public Safety using funding from Washington an example of the erosion of federalism?

REP. GUEST: It is an example of something we are very concerned with right now. The fact that we have Federal intrusion into the States, I think we are going to find out we have a Federal directive down here (in Jefferson City) to tell us how to run our State’s Department of Public Safety and to scrutinize people or “profiling” people and to me this is profiling people in the highest degree to pick out certain segments (of the population) and certain third-party people. It’s almost (like singling out) those (people) who follow the platform of the Republican Party.

DSR: Understanding that it was intrinsic to democracy President Jefferson Davis calmly endured vile criticism with dignity while the Lincoln Administration employed political profiling, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, wrecked newspapers, and jailed dissidents. The MIAC (Missouri Information Analysis Center) issue seems to be a tactic for the administration to intimidate the opposition. What steps can the State Legislature take to protect its people from out-of-control government?

REP. GUEST: (Laughter)…That’s a good question; we need to obviously enforce the Tenth Amendment but right now I think we are seeing steps taken here to profile the Constitution Party and those who basically speak out against the Federal government and those who want to express their true views and their true ideas. You talked about the writ of habeas corpus and getting rid of it as Lincoln did, you know, that’s happening right now.

So some of this MIAC thing is very dangerous; when you say you are going to profile those who are anti-immigration, anti-abortion, and especially sovereign citizens, I can’t believe that anybody who says they are a sovereign citizen and that our government is out of control that they (MIAC) is going to target them. As a matter of fact we do have a government that’s out of control. There is no doubt about that. To try and segregate a certain part of the population that believes in their freedom issues is strictly overstepping the bounds. I think that MIAC is a Federal directive that’s come down.

DSR: Misdirection is not new to Missouri politics. Many of us feel the establishment has been blame shifting and scapegoating with the Confederate Battleflag in order cover up their own failures and shortcomings. The cynical policies of two governors towards the display of the Confederate Flag are seen as Machiavellian by many people. How do you feel about Gov. Holden taking the Battleflag off the graves at Higginsville?

REP. GUEST: That was disgusting! …The Confederate Flag is part of history. How can you get rid of that? Those Confederate veterans are buried in those cemeteries, you know, that’s part of our history and those flags that fly are part of our history and I have fought to return them so that those flags fly where they are. It is not a matter of disrespect to anybody else it is a matter of respect to those who believed in their true values at that time and even now.

DSR: More than any community ideal the Confederate Soldier was concerned with local control. Much of that has been lost over the years. Do you think that loss has led to the widespread feeling of powerlessness and the decline of self-esteem that seems so prevalent today?

REP. GUEST: That’s quite true. I think a lot of people feel that it is useless to stand up for what they believe in that the Federal government has become too powerful and that what they say is going to be disregarded.

That’s why there is this movement for State’s rights, that’s why this is a grassroots issue that will move all the way up. That’s why it is important for people to get involved with the party they believe in to take back those values this country was founded upon.

Our Forefathers came to this country not only for freedom but to escape the governmental control of their lives. That’s why it’s so important that we retain it (freedom). Our Forefathers would be appalled about the power the Federal government has amassed over the travesty (claiming) that they say they are fighting terrorism. I’m sure that Thomas Jefferson and the thirty-nine signers of the Constitution would roll over if they could see what happened to the document that they fought for and put their honor and lives on the line when they signed it.

DSR: Would you like to say any more about these issues?

REP. GUEST: Regarding the MIAC thing, we will delve into that to make sure we stop this profiling of those who want to express their own views.

Reservations to the dinner and speech are available by calling: 417-754-8397

Monday, March 23, 2009

April is also Confederate History Month

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Chairman of the National and Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Confederate History Month

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”—Marcus Garvey

On Thursday, March 12, 2009, the Georgia State Senate passed bill No. 27, by a vote of 48-2, designating April as Confederate Heritage and History Month. I understand that it has now been voted out of committee for a full House vote. Supporters of this bill say, “The measure would be a boom to the state’s tourism industry, encouraging visitors to come to Georgia’s Civil War Battlefield sites.”

Read information on the bill at

The diversity of the Old South still holds the imagination of many people who come from around the world to see; Southern Belle’s with hoop skirts, Confederate flags and soldier memorials like the Confederate Memorial carving of: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis at Stone Mountain Memorial Park near Atlanta.

This story is written in the spirit of the Sesquicentennial, 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States, which will be commemorated throughout the USA from 2011 to 2015.

Americans observe Black, Jewish, Hispanic, Native American and Women’s History Month…..And in April we also remember ‘Confederate History Month’ in tribute to those Americans who took their stand for what some historians call the ‘Second American Revolution.’

April is an important month in America's history. The Great Locomotive Chase, where Union spies attempted to steal the Confederate Locomotive "The General" and destroy rail lines and bridges, took place on April 12, 1862. The month of April has become to be known as Confederate History and Heritage Month when proclamations will be signed by Governors, Commissioners and Mayors.
The Congress of the United States has officially in past years recognized America's war, of 1861 to 1865, as the War Between the States. This tragic war claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of brothers, uncles and husbands. Though they were enemies on the battlefield, after the war, the men of blue and gray sponsored reunions at such places as Gettysburg. The soldier told war stories while the United States and Confederate flags flew briskly in the warm summer breeze.

Why do some schools ignore the teaching of American history? Boys and girls once learned about American soldiers who for over 200 years marched off to war. The church hymn book once included "Onward Christian Soldiers." The young people read about: George Washington, Robert E. Lee and Booker T. Washington. Northern and Southern children stood up proudly to sing patriotic songs from a standard song book that included "Dixie".

After the end of the War Between the States, Northern and Southern women formed memorial organizations. They made sure all soldiers were given a Christian burial and a marked grave. Memorial Days were begun in many states North and South of the famous Mason-Dixon Line. Confederate graves were also cared for in the North and Union graves in the South. Great monuments were also erected that still cast a giant shadow over many town squares and soldiers' cemeteries across the U.S.A.

April 26, has become to be recognized as Confederate Memorial Day in many states. For over one hundred years the Ladies' Memorial Association, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans have held memorial services on or near this day. Other Southern States recognize this day, which began as Decoration Day, on May 10th and June 3rd, which is the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Efforts to mark Confederate graves, erect monuments and hold memorial services were the idea of Mrs.. Charles J. Williams. It is written that she was an educated and kind lady.. Her husband served as Colonel of the 1st Georgia Regiment during the war. He died of disease in 1862, and was buried in his home town of Columbus, Georgia.

Mrs. Williams and her daughter visited his grave often and cleared the weeds, leaves and twigs from it, then placed flowers on it. Her daughter also pulled the weeds from other Confederate graves near her Father.

It saddened the little girl that their graves were unmarked. With tears of pride she said to her Mother, "These are my soldiers' graves." The daughter soon became ill and passed away in her childhood. Mrs. William's grief was almost unbearable.

On a visit to the graves of her husband and daughter, Mrs. Williams looked at the unkept soldiers' graves and remembered her daughter as she cleaned the graves and what the little girl had said. She knew what had to do.

Mrs. Williams wrote a letter that was published in Southern newspapers asking the women of the South for their help. She asked that memorial organizations be established to take care of the thousands of Confederate graves from the Potomac River to the Rio Grande. She also asked the state legislatures to set aside a day in April to remember the men who wore the gray. With her leadership April 26 was officially adopted in many states.. She died in 1874, but not before her native state of Georgia adopted it as a legal holiday.

Among the gallant women of the Confederacy was Captain Sally Tomkins, CSA who was the only woman to be commissioned on either side of the War Between the States. Commissioned by Jefferson Davis, she took care of thousands of soldiers in Richmond, Virginia until the end of the war.

Those who served the Confederacy came from many races and religions. There was Irish born General Patrick R. Cleburne, black Southerner Amos Rucker, Jewish born Judah P. Benjamin, Mexican born Colonel Santos Benavides, Cherokee American Indian General Stand Watie- the highest ranking officer on either side, and Major Gen. Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac born in France.

Please go to: or to read more about Confederate History Month.

Sir Winston Churchill said that the Confederate Army's fight against overwhelming odds is one of the most glorious moments in Anglo-Saxon history.

Lest We Forget!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Confederate Heritage Dinner Hosts Tenth Amendment Expert

The program for the Eighth Annual Col. John T. Coffee Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) Confederate Heritage celebration will be Missouri Representative and Tenth Amendment expert Rep. Jim Guest. On 18 April 2009, the program and dinner will once again be held at the First Assemblies of God Church hall on Hwy. 13 in Osceola, Missouri. Fellowship starts at 5:00 PM and the program begins at 6:00 PM.

Representative Jim Guest lives in northwest Missouri and has been elected as state representative four times to represent the constituents of the 5th District. Jim is a supporter of Congressman Ron Paul and has had the privilege to know Dr. Paul personally and spoke along side Dr. Paul at last summer’s Freedom Rally in Washington DC to a crowd of thousands.

Rep. Guest has been a champion of the Bill of Rights and Tenth Amendment issues saying, “The 10th Amendment was written to reassure the states that they would remain largely in charge within their own borders”. The Amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

According to Rep. Guest, “One of the most contentious points in the formation of a Federal government came from the individual states. The states didn't want to lose the ability to make regional decisions nor to be subject to an overriding power from a distant national capital. We need to tell the federal government to stay out of our states issues in an effort to stop the mandates and the attempts to modify or change state laws.” Jim has a radio show every Sunday morning at 9 am, on the RBN

The dinner and talk are part of the John T. Coffee Camp’s ongoing education program that seeks to highlight the positive aspects of our Southern Heritage and the legacy of the Confederate soldier. The Coffee Camp believes the Tenth Amendment best exemplifies the cause for which the Confederate Soldier fought. Therefore, it seems appropriate that we should revisit this crucial issue in order to better understand the tumultuous times that lie ahead. Previous speakers for the dinner have included military historian Donald Gilmore, best selling author Walter Kennedy, Christian historian Dr. Edward DeVries, black Confederate activist H. K. Edgerton and essayist David S. Reif.

This family oriented event is open to the public but requires reservations. For dinner information call 417-754-8397 or

Osceola is 25 miles south of Clinton and 30 miles north of Bolivar, Missouri on Hwy. 13; there is ample lodging in the area.

Commmander Gary Ayres:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mississippi Proclamation


Monday, March 09, 2009

Haralson County Proclamation

As a member of both the Ga Div and SCV National Confederate Heritage and History Month Committee, I am pleased to announce the following:

On March 3rd, 4 members of the Haralson County Invincibles went to the Haralson Board of Commissioners monthly meeting and received thier 2009 Confederate Heritage and History Month Proclamation. The Commission Chairman Allen Poole stood up alongside us and read the document for a standing room only crowd. After being unanimously adopted and read, Chairman Poole gave the copy to President Lincoln (Richard Boarts) and shook our hands (myself, Harry Lyle, and James Woods)

Not too sure where else in the universe a Black leader would give a Pro Confederate document to Abe Lincoln, but it happened in our little section of the South!

This proclamation tops off the list of West Ga / East Al govts to issue CH&HM Proclamations, which are

Haralson County
Carroll County
Mt Zion
Villa Rica
Heard County
Cleburne County Alabama

NOTE: All jurisdictions except Haralson County have designated April perpetually as Confederate History Month.

I will be following up on the significance of April by a 30 minute Radio Interview on WLBB 1330 AM in Carrollton on April 1st, 2009 at 8:30 am.

Thanks & God Bless

Billy Bearden 673

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wisdom from our patriot Bro. Al Benson Jr.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

2009 Confederate History Month Proclamation

Click Image
Sent: 3/2/2009 12:12:05 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: 2009 Confederate History Month Proclamation

Monday, March 2, 2009

With about 30 days left until April and Confederate History Month, I offer you on--attachement--the 2009 CHHM proclamation signed by Marietta, Georgia's Mayor Dunaway. It actually takes effect on March 11th.
This may help you with wording for your own.

Also, I need all of those close to Marietta and Acworth, Georgia to help receive the following Confederate History Month proclamations this month:

1. Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 7 PM at the City Hall of Acworth, Georgia. This will make the third consecutive proclamation for Mayor Allegood and the Aldermen of Acworth, Georgia. Going North on Acworth's main street, after the red caboose on right turn left at light and go between buildings. CIty Hall is easy to see in front on next street. City Hall is a block off the main street.

2. Tuesday, March, 24, 2009, at 7 PM at the meeting room of the Cobb County, Georgia Board of Commissioners. This makes about the 9th we have received from Cobb County. This is at 100 Cherokee Street, second floor--near the old Strand Theater in Marietta, Georgia. There is a parking deck of free parking. This is also aired on cable channel 23 of Cobb County.

More coming!! Help make Confederate History Month 2009 the best ever!! Call me at: 770 428 0978 for additional info.

Calvin E. Johnson, Jr. Chairman
Confederate History Month Committee for the National and Georgia
Division Sons of Confederate Veterans

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Colour Bearer



This story comes from the book, Valor In Gray, about the recipients of the Confederate Medal of Honour. FYI, no such recognition was afforded any of these men in their lifetimes. Marse Robert himself felt that no such special recognition was proper as he felt all the Confederate soldiers were heroes. Still, in 1977, the Sons of Confederate Veterans formally posthumously bestowed its first Medal of Honour, that upon Sam Davis, a 21 year old Tennessee boy hanged as a spy because he would not betray his friends when offered his life in exchange.

This is a long read but worth reading to stir Southern pride, knowing that we, as Southern Americans, are descended from such uncompromising patriotic stock.

Jimmy L. Shirley Jr.


There was simply no question about what he had to do. Virginia was leaving the Union to join her sister states in the South. A new country was forming, the Confederate States of America...and if a second American revolution was necessary to insure its existence, he was ready to fight.

His mother was not so sure. They were new to Giles County. Earning a living in these rugged mountains where the New River knifed through the Appalachians differed sharply from the life they had known in the prosperous tobacco economy of Pittsylvania County. Without a husband now, she relied heavily on her son to help make ends meet. Times were difficult enough. This talk of war frightened her.
Word had it that anyone interested in joining the Virginia Volunteers should see Capt. James Harvey French, commander of the local Pearisburg Home Guards. A number of fellows from Giles and Monroe counties were already in Pearisburg, eager to enlist. With luck, they might even have enough recruits to form an artillery company!

He arrived at the Giles County Court House early on enlistment day, Monday, 13 May 1861. From the anxious young men who presented themselves, Capt. French easily filled the roster for his company. Despite a chance to join the artillery; the young man from southside Virginia signed on with Capt. French and the infantry.

Although officially members of the "Giles Volunteers," he and his comrades proudly nicknamed themselves the "Mountain Boomers." Each day they wondered when they would start for "the seat of war." It seemed everyone was anxious to get in on the fight before it was over. But as they would soon find out, there were new realities and "other things" to deal with first.

Personal freedoms all but disappeared. Military life demanded strict and prompt obedience to all instructions from superior officers. Discipline for those who tarried was swift and certain.

Capt. William W. McComas, who would command the soon-to-be-formed artillery company, drilled them daily in the manual of arms. Time and again McComas had them dress their ragged line, march in step, and cheer..."huzzah" as he called it. As one member of the company remembered, "we never did learn uniformity in the 'huzzah,' but gradually drifted into that wild 'rebel yell,' as it was called which so often sent a thrill of horror into the Yankee ranks.

Yet only when he and his fellow soldiers were sufficiently schooled in the art of war, would they be off to "the seat of war." And everyone had an opinion on where that would be.

In the meantime, "soldiering" in the mountains of western Virginia had some decided advantages. Everyone, he realized, was interested in soldiers; the curious- be they wide-eyed boys, ardent old veterans from another war, or coquettish young ladies-often stopped to watch the company drill. Being the center of attention certainly had its advantages. Whole communities sent invitations for end-off dinners. When the good folks living at the head of Wolf Creek offered, he company forthwith marched west from Pearisburg and "partook of a bountiful repast," returning to barracks filled, jolly, and much satisfied.

Even camp life had its merry times. Pranks and practical jokes-limited only by a soldier's gall and ingenuity-kept everyone on their toes. An informal company choir offered nightly renditions of a number of patriotic airs including me Bonnie Blue Flag and Dixie. Yet everyone agreed that the latter, "had more music in it than all (the) others put together."

As the young man adjusted to the rigors, restrictions, and yes, meager rewards of a soldier's life, his mother concerned herself with the day he would march away from the mountains for the war. She no doubt knew-as did so many mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and girlfriends of that time-that it was useless to try and keep her boy from going to Virginia's defense. She must put her faith in Providence. Yet before he parted, a special event would impress both mother and son with the gravity of what was happening all across the South.

In a ceremony almost as old as war itself, the company assembled to receive its colors from the community: A selected young lady from the county, in this case Miss Mary Woodram, presented Joseph Edward Bane with the standard, lovingly and painstakingly sewn by the ladies of Giles County. This was the banner they would follow into battle. Each soldier hoped himself worthy of the trust bequeathed by their community. Never must they be found wanting in courage. Never must they disgrace or abandon their colors!

The pupils of the Pearisburg Academy then asked that company chaplain Jacob Frazier come forward to receive a Bible, presented ''as an expression of our confidence in their Christian faith and patriotism." Suddenly the friendly frolic and springtime pleasures of soldiering acquired a serious air. Despite the pomp and eloquent talk, many could see that war was coming; some of the young men standing at attention this day might never be coming back.

Chaplain Frazier graciously accepted the Bible on behalf of the "Mountain Boomers," promising that from the testament's "precious promises I will bring balm for the suffering."

"If the Pale Horse and his Rider should overtake any of us in a distant land," he continued, "we will rest in hope of the glorious appearing of Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, and with whom we shall be gathered into that land which no foe invades, and where friends are parted no more."

The mother took these words as comfort. In this hour of uncertainty, she must trust in the Lord. His will be done.

But to the fresh recruits about to leave for the front, such comments, once nervously considered, were best shelved beyond immediate contemplation. Instead the "Mountain Boomers" stood sharply at attention, beaming in pride and expectation, no doubt their eyes fixed on the bright, waving colors of the company flag...the banner that would guide them forward to victory!

They had been in the army a year, and now, although designated Company D, 7th Virginia Infantry, the "Mountain Boomers" had seen their fair share of campaigning. But marching and sleeping in the rain and mud of tidewater Virginia held little glamour for them. This Saturday's night trek across a dozen miles of bottomless muck that called itself a road would probably take all night. With any luck-and perhaps a break in the weather-they would be in Williamsburg by morning.

Filing through the old colonial capital in the brisk, gray Sabbath dawn, the 7th Virginia-one of four regiments in Brig. Gen. A. P. Hill's brigade-finally halted for rest on the grounds of the Eastern Hospital for the Insane. Other commands arrived, setting up camp in the muddy fields west of town. That evening, sometime well after midnight, the skies opened with a steady downpour. Already made miserable by mud and fatigue, soldiers now added rain to their discomforts.

But these physical inconveniences were of little consequence compared to the aggressive enemy threat that hovered on the Confederate rear. Cavalry clashes had resounded throughout the day; couriers told of brisk skirmishing with the rear guard. And outbursts of distant musketry-getting closer and closer-hinted that something more serious was coming.

Monday, 5 May, opened drearily. The driving rains continued, soaking and chilling everyone and everything. But the sounds of gunfire continued, sharper...and louder. The suspense ended at 8:30 that morning, when orders arrived instructing Hill's brigade to reverse its march and reinforce Confederate forces dug in at Fort Magruder, a strong earthwork a mile east of Williamsburg.

An hour earlier, Union forces had swept from the rain-soaked woods east of this fortification and overrun the Confederate skirmish line, capturing several outlying redoubts near Fort Magruder. Increased numbers of Federals lurked nearby threatening both flanks of the Confederate position. If this enemy advance was not checked, the Confederate forces could be routed piecemeal!

Col. James Kemper ordered the men of his 7th Virginia Infantry to strike camp and start for the sound of the guns. The respective companies were instructed to form on acting color bearer Tapley Mays, a private from Company D. A scrappy, hell-bent-for-leather type, Mays had eagerly accepted the temporary post of regimental standard bearer. To him, there was no more honored position in the regiment!

As the 7th Virginia slopped through the soupy streets of Williamsburg just west of the College of William and Mary, an old woman came out on her porch. "With clasped hands and eyes lifted heavenward," one member of Company 0 remembered, the well-meaning matron uttered "for us, in simple, pathetic tones, a prayer to God for the protection of our lives in the coming conflict."

Once beyond the College and the eastern limits of the town, the regiment started across an open field to the right, confidently piling their knapsacks and bedrolls along the road. Enemy shells screamed overhead, exploding with unnerving suddenness. Hill's other three regiments-the 1st, 11th, and 17th Virginia regiments-likewise prepared for battle. It was ten o'clock.

Leading his brigade by columns into a deep open hollow of ground to the right of Fort Magruder, Gen. Hill waited for further instructions from Maj. Gen. James Longstreet. The men in the ranks detested this "monotonous standing in line of battle...a thing that always tries the patience of a soldier," one of them later recalled. But "the enemy's long range guns and superior artillery" had the Confederates at a decided disadvantage. By noon, realizing that he could no longer wait for the enemy to attack, Longstreet issued new orders: "Seize the first opportunity to attack the most assailable position of the enemy."

They were going in!

Plunging into the dense, dripping woods in their front, A. P. Hill's Confederates formed and extended their battle line as officers called, "By the right flank into line." Despite their best efforts, men skidded and sprawled on the slippery forest floor. Bent branches whacked faces and flung water into eyes. Confusion abounded, but a quick glance to their colors kept the men together and in reasonable order.

Tapley Mays remained in the center of the 7th's position, keeping his flag in front, high and clear. The woods were misty from the rain and still clouded by lingering gunsmoke. But strangely enough, the firing had stopped; were the Federals expecting their attack?

Suddenly, through a small gap in the trees, men in blue uniforms passed into view. The enemy? Col. Kemper raised his field glasses, then lowered them, unsure. What did Gen. Hill think?

Powell Hill's reply was immediate and certain. "Yes, they are Yankees; give it to them!"

Booming his voice so that all could hear, Kemper stormed, "Now, boys, I want you to give it to those blue-coated fellows: ready, aim, fire."

“A sheet of flame burst forth from the line with a deafening roar," remembered veteran of the 11th Virginia. Reloading as quickly as possible, the brigade delivered another volley as Gen. Hill, waving a pistol above his head, called upon hem to charge. They responded with a rush and a cheer.

Tapley Mays led the 7th into the woods, scrambling ahead of the other regiments that had formed on the left and right flanks. Quickly he bounded across a fence and moved down a slight slope, just ahead of the tramping crush of hundreds of boots and shoes. Above his head, bullets hissed and popped, cutting wigs and brush, a dire warning that a determined enemy stood unseen before hem, contesting their advance. Already a number of wounded provided the early proof.

But Mays led deeper into the soaked forest, waving his flag furiously as the 7th fought and drove a dangerous enemy largely unseen. Minie balls whined from all points on the compass. Gunsmoke obscured the battle front and the incessant roar of the musketry nearly drowned out shouted commands. Try as they might in this chaotic, disoriented tangle of brush where death could come at any second, the men kept the flag in sight for guidance.. .and hope.

On the right, the 11th Virginia was corning up in support.. Somewhere off to the left, the 17th Virginia was moving through the woods, heavily engaged. But the forefront of the attack, the 7th Virginia pushed ahead, leveling their muskets again and again against a determined foe they rarely could see.

As the most visible member of the 7th's regimental formation, flag bearer Mays became an obvious, desirable target. Cutting down the standard carrier, every line officer knew, robbed a regiment of its momentum, its direction. Kill the enemy flag bearer, went the conventional wisdom, and the enemy's assault could easily wither.

Thus the very act of making himself as conspicuous as possible to his comrades, to maintain the cohesion of their attack, also made Tapley Mays one of the prime targets on the battlefield. But no Federal bullet could touch him. Again and again, his muddy hands felt sharp tugs on the flagstaff, and twice, inexplicably he thought, it was jerked rudely from his grasp. But each time, he seized the standard and returned it to the front of the regiment where all friends might see it, take heart, and know that the center was firm, preserved, and advancing.

Confederate forces gained a badly needed victory at Williamsburg that day. At the height of the fighting, a cry suddenly swept down the gray battle line: "They are running!" Pushing hard to capitalize on their hard-won advantage, Hill's Virginians routed the Federals in their front. One veteran likened it to "a lot of boys hunting rabbits in the thickets."

James Kemper was rightly proud of his men, and spoke highly of them to Gen. A. P. Hill. But incredible rumors circulating about the regimental color bearer, Pvt. Tapley Mays, demanded his personal investigation.

The regimental commander summoned Mays and examined the colors. Carefully, incredulously he counted 27 bullet holes in the banner and several splintered gouges in the staff. Twice he learned, the flag had been shot from Pvt. Mays' grasp. And most incredible of all, this brave soldier had not sustained a scratch!

Col. Kemper promoted Tapley Mays to regimental Color Sergeant at once, to date from the Battle of Williamsburg. Gen. A. P. Hill, in his official report, praised Mays' battlefield valor. Such men he knew, who willingly carried the flag into the very jaws of death, could inspire whole brigades. This young man, one of the "Mountain Boomers" from Giles County, was that rare breed of soldier.

And indeed, three weeks later when the 7th went forward into the fight at Seven Pines outside the Confederate capital, Sgt. Mays bore the flag into the thickest of the fight, again coming away unscathed. Four weeks later, on 30 June 1862, during the height of the fighting at Frayser's Farm, the 7th Virginia rushed headlong across an open field 400 yards wide. In their front stood an entire Federal battery supported by a phalanx of blue infantry.

Badly winded, scattered by their rush through the woods, and far in front of the vital support of sister regiments, the 7th, with Sgt. Mays prominently in front, charged impetuously across the open field toward the waiting enemy. There was "no hanging back nor turning to right or left; no other thought but to push ahead," remembered one participant. All the way across that deadly space, the regiment "met a shower of shot, shell, and canister, and a storm of leaden bullets. The men never once faltered, but rushed like a torrent upon the battery, routing :he infantry; and Sergeant T. E Mays, the ensign, planted the colors of our regiment on the enemy's guns."

Although wounded in this inspired albeit reckless charge, Tapley Mays again drew the official notice of Brig. Gen. James Kemper, now his brigade commander. And the men of the 7th Virginia agreed.

But daring death on so many fields was more than fate would allow. Desperate to hold back the legions of blue infantry that threatened to overrun their position it Turner's Gap on Maryland's South Mountain the following September, Mays kept his banner flying at the forefront of the skirmish line, yelling encouragement and leading cheers among the boulders and fallen timber northeast of the National Road. The battle raged "until darkness fell, the enemy making repeated but unsuccessful efforts to dislodge our men," wrote a member of the 7th.

That night, only seventeen officers and men remained of the decimated Mountain Boomers." A half century later, when Judge David E. Johnston wrote his war memoirs, the memory of Tapley Mays again burned bright.

""Mays was serving in the capacity of ensign of the regiment, and died at the front, where danger was met and glory won, with that flag which he had so gallantly; proudly and defiantly borne aloft on many victorious fields. Brave and undaunted, he ever led where duty called, sharing the hardships and privations of camp life, the march and dangers of battle, without a murmur, and dying with his flag unfurled and its staff clenched in his hands. May the memory of Tapley P. Mays rest in peace.""

Guy D. French, Justice of the Peace for Giles County; quietly handed the quill to the sad, poor woman who had come to his office. Nearby, Capt. James Harvey French, a kinsman, and A. J. Hollman watched respectfully as she took the pen and scratched an "X" after her middle initial.

Unable to read or write, Peggy B. Mays was here on this bleak February day to claim what was rightfully due to her late son, Sgt. Tapley P. Mays, Company D, 7th Virginia Infantry; mortally wounded at South Mountain, Maryland. With a sorrowful expression, she confirmed that her son had "left no wife, child, or father.

The shocking news of Tapley's death had dulled with the passing months, but there was still a great emptiness, a pathetic sadness in her life. The fact that Capt. French was with her now, made this moment a bit easier. But the respect shown for the memory of her boy meant much too. Singled out by Gen. A. P. Hill and Gen. James Kemper for his battlefield bravery, perhaps her son would not be forgotten, lost among the thousands of dead in this horrible war. Perhaps that was what she feared most.

More than a century later, Col. Joseph Mitchell, author of The Badge of Gallantry: Recollections of Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Winners (New York, 1968), wrote that "Tapley P. Mays is a perfect example of the kind of soldier the Confederate Medal of Honor was established to honor."

Thus for extraordinary, unselfish valor, and battlefield courage as regimental ensign of the 7th Virginia Infantry, Color Sergeant Tapley P. Mays was posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor. The memory of his unflinching valor and the heroic sacrifice of his life for the cause in which he believed will never be forgotten.
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