Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Confederate Veteran Remembered in Texas

Confederate Veteran Remembered

By Felicia Frazar
The Gazette-Enterprise

Published April 14, 2009

SEGUIN — The sound of “Dixie” filled the air, the Confederate Flag whipped in the wind and men dressed in uniforms that date back to the Civil War gathered around the grave.

They were all there to honor a former Rebel soldier nearly a century after his death.

Family members of Daniel Wayne Ferguson, down to six generations, joined together at San Geronimo Cemetery on Saturday to memorialize the soldier, said Dot Ferguson Hatfield, great-granddaughter.

“The Sons of the Confederate Veterans do this to commemorate the Civil War veterans,” she said. “They dress-up in their period costumes and do this all free to keep the memory of the Confederate soldiers alive within your mind and in your heart.”

Having come from South Carolina, the Fergusons relocated to Lousiana and then to a place where they called home, Hatfield said.

“They came to Texas and were early Texas settlers and lived in this area,” she said. “They got here in about 1855 and into this county, which is Guadalupe County.”

Being one of five sons, Ferguson joined the Confederate efforts with his four brothers around 1862 and served for about two years.

Almost all of the boys returned home, said great grandson Homer Ferguson.

“One was killed, James, and as a matter of fact he did not die instantly,” he said. “He lived six or eight days and died of blood poisoning.”

While the other three returned with war wounds, Ferguson said, Daniel alleged that he had injuries.

“Daniel was the only one that was not wounded,” he said. “He claimed to be wounded because somebody shot his hat off and his boot heel off. He said ‘I was wounded in the Civil War,’ he said that ole’ Yankee cut down on him and the first shot, (he) shot his boot heel off and when he got over the saddle, the next shot he shot his hat off. He said it was his 31st birthday and he thought it would be his last.”

That was not his last birthday — he celebrated many more after that.

Sharing one of his favorite passed down stories, Ferguson told of how his great grandfather came upon a dying Yankee solider and gave him companionship until the soldier passed.

Before passing, the Union soldier offered an act of kindness to Daniel, Ferguson said.

“He looked at Daniel and said ‘I see you don’t have a coat,’” Ferguson said. “So, he got the soldier’s coat and put it on. He started riding toward the camp on this pony when three Union soldiers came charging behind him and he did not realize he was an officer then (by the coat) and they said ‘Come on Captain, the rebels are right up ahead. We want to get up there and get in the action’ and they were really going. So he said he picked [the pony] up on his spurs after they had gone on by and took another route back to camp.”

John Miller Commander of the Texas Bonnie Blue Camp, said he heard about Daniel through a family member.

“Dot Hatfield is a cousin of mine by marriage,” he said. “We had got to talking and she is a big history buff and we were talking about some different graves up there and she told us about her relative here, so, we said OK we’ll do it.”

Having only been chartered since October, the Texas Bonnie Blue Camp No. 869 of San Antonio conducted their first grave dedication with full honors for the soldier including a fiddler’s rendition of “Dixie,” a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace” and a nine-gun-salute with three period black-powder riffles.

Along with the SCV honors to the former soldier, two members of the Order of the Confederate Rose, Black Roses, along with any other women who wished to pay tribute to Ferguson, silently approached the grave, with a curtsy of respect before sprinkling rose petals on the site and a curtsy of respect after.

Honoring past Confederate soldiers is not all the SCV does, Miller said.

“A lot of other camps do ceremonies and they do a living history and sometimes the camps go to schools,” he said. “We also do different community projects — like right now we have adopted a nursing home, and we go visit with the seniors at least every other month. We do donations to Ronald McDonald House.”

While some racial hate groups have adopted the Confederate flag as a symbol, Miller said the SCV is not a racist group.

“We are not a hate group, we are just out here to take care of our ancestors and make sure they are done right,” he said. “The Sons of the Confederacy are out here to honor our ancestors.”