Sunday, October 28, 2012

GEC Meeting at Elm Springs Held October 27

Condensed Account of the October 27, 2012 GEC Meeting:
1. Meeting opened at 8:00 AM with Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, Salute to the Confederate Flag and The Charge.

2. Executive Director Sewell reported the SCV, as of 10.26.12, has 30, 534 members, approximately 400 more than the same time last year. He stated the needed maintenance on Elm Springs has been minimal and reported on the status of the SCV’s endowment funds.

3. GEC voted to put the Bicentennial Fund under the review of the Investment Committee.

4. CIC addressed several issues:
A. Vision Program Progress
B. Carter House in Franklin, TN
C. Discount for SCV members at the Kissimmee, FL Ramada Inn
D. Appointments to the Disciplinary Committee

5. Lt Commander Barrow reported on the recent Leadership Conference in Colorado, the upcoming conference in Richmond, November 3, 2012, and other conferences in Alabama, Kentucky and possibly Texas and Arizona.

6. ANV Councilman Randy Burbage reported on two Battleflags that have recently been acquired by the South Carolina Division.

7. Chief of Heritage Defense Hogan presented a report on the Reidsville, North Carolina monument, the updated SCV website where heritage violations can be reported on-line and a new heritage defense fundraising program.

8. The GEC adopted additions to the Convention Guidelines to establish a minimum fee for debutants, to define requirements for the memorial service for compatriot who have passed away in the last year  and for the Heritage Defense Luncheon held at Reunions.

9. The GEC voted to affirm that the “The Charge” of Gen. S.D. Lee as recorded in the minutes of the United Confederate Veterans 1906 minutes, the minutes of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans minutes from their 1906 Reunion as currently shown on is the historically correct version of The Charge.

10. Discussion of Sam Davis Youth Camps' legal structure.

11. Budget and Finance Committee reported on five (5) requests:
A. The request for funding for a monument in Ardmore, OK was approved.
B. Funding for the Culp Brothers monument in Gettysburg, PA was approved contingent a contract governing the monument is received and reviewed at GHQ.
C. Assistance requested by the Boy Scouts in St. Mary’s Ohio to mark a confederate grave of an officer from Mississippi. AIC Steve Ritchie will assist with this project - no funding needed.
D. Request for funding for a sculpture Confederate Veteran Richard Payne for an historical park in Winston County, Alabama. Funding approved contingent on agreement with the historical park board regarding conditions of the sculpture being donated.
E. Request for funding for the Confederate Plaza in Palestine, Texas was approved. The plaza has been donated to the General Organization of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

12. Past Commander In Chief McMichael spoke about upcoming Sesquicentennial Events, the next at Beauvoir on March 16, 2013. He also addressed issues regarding The Confederate Museum.

13. CIC Givens made closing comments, including announcing the next GEC meeting will be at Beauvoir in conjunction with the Beauvoir Sesquicentennial event.

14. Meeting ended at 3:35 PM with prayer and the singing of Dixie!!

Elm Springs on Christmas Tour

Elm Springs, headquarters for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, is one of the homes on the Maury County, Tennessee, Christmas Historic Home Tour this year. The theme is "Prelude to the Battle of Franklin," which will highlight the siege of Columbia and the events leading up to the Battle of Franklin.

Tour hours are Friday, November 30, Noon to 7 PM and Saturday, December 1, 9 AM to 5 PM. Docents will be at all tour venues along with special events at each stop.

A Confederate encampment will be on the grounds at Elm Springs including cannon demonstrations.

For more information visit

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Europe Camp Completes Monument Restoration in Rome

Tomb of CSA Captain Thomas Jefferson Page restored in Rome, Italy

Yearly tens of thousands of visitors flock to the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome, Italy to see the final resting places of British Poets John Keats and Percy Shelley, 19th Century American author of Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana and others.

But one magnificent, but lesser-known grave honors someone very different.

Captain Thomas Jefferson Page (1808-1899) was a major American naval figure. After a long and distinguished career as a U.S. Navy Officer, during the WBTS Page served the South as a Confederate States Navy Officer: he built Confederate ships in Europe and challenged and faced down U.S. Navy ships. But by the time he could get his French-built ironclad ram CSS Stonewall to America waters, the war was over.

After the War, Page went to Argentina and eventually moved to Rome, Italy. He died there in 1899, full of years, an important, much-loved member of the American community there.

Captain Page’s impressive tomb, now over one hundred years old, badly needed renovation.

In 2010, the SCV’s Europe Camp led an international effort, which, with donations from Europe and the United States, as well as the SCV national organization, enabled the Cemetery to fully restore the tomb of this important America naval figure.

On Saturday, 8 September 2012, the tomb was rededicated in a ceremony hosted by Europe Camp. Guests came from Europe, Australia and the United States. More than a hundred years after the Captain was laid to rest, his final resting place is again a shining, unique American presence in the Eternal City.

David O. Dodd, Confederate Hero, Honored in Arkansas

Long after death, Confederate spy honored in Ark.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The story of David O. Dodd is relatively unknown outside of Arkansas, but the teenage spy who chose to hang rather than betray the Confederate cause is a folk hero to many in his home state.

Street signs and an elementary in the state capital have long borne Dodd's name, and admirers gather at his grave each year to pay tribute to Dodd's life and death.

"Everyone wants to remember everything else about the Civil War that was bad," said one of them, W. Danny Honnoll. "We want to remember a man that stood for what he believed in and would not tell on his friends."

A state commission's decision, though, to grant approval for yet another tribute to Dodd has revived an age-old question: Should states still look for ways to commemorate historical figures who fought to defend unjust institutions?

"(Dodd) already has a school. I don't know why anything else would have to be done to honor him," James Lucas Sr., a school bus driver, said near the state Capitol in downtown Little Rock.

Arkansas' complicated history of race relations plays out on the Capitol grounds. A stone and metal monument that's stood for over a century pays tribute to the Arkansas men and boys who fought for the Confederacy and the right to own slaves. Not far away, nine bronze statues honor the black children who, in 1957, needed an Army escort to enter what had been an all-white school.

The newest nod to Dodd would mark a site across town where he was detained after Union soldiers found encoded notes on him about their troop locations. Dodd was convicted of spying and sentenced to death, and legend has it he refused an offer to walk free in exchange for the name of the person who gave him the information.

"He was barely 17 years old when the Yankees hung him" on Jan. 8, 1864, Honnoll said. "Yeah, he was spying, but there (were) other people that spied that they didn't hang."

Dodd is certainly not the only teenager to die in the war or even the lone young martyr, said Carl Moneyhon, a University of Arkansas at Little Rock history professor.

"If you start talking about the 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds who were killed in battle, the number is infinite," Moneyhon said. "There are tens of thousands of them. They become unremarkable."

So it seems all the more curious that some have come to portray Dodd as Arkansas' boy martyr.

"It's part of the romanticizing of the Civil War that began in the 1880s and the 1890s, that looks for ... what could be called heroic behavior to celebrate in a war filled with real horrors," Moneyhon said.

And it's caught on, though many question why.

"It's a very sad story, but at the end of the day, Dodd was spying for the Confederacy, which was fighting a war to defend the institution of slavery," said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Sharon Donovan — who lives on West David O. Dodd Road (there's an East David O. Dodd Road, too) — said she wouldn't mind another Dodd namesake in her neighborhood.

"The fact that we live in the South, I could understand why he would want to do it because he was actually working for us in a way. ... For that era, I think it was probably a noble thing to do," Donovan said.

About a half-mile away, a banner outside an elementary school proclaims, "David O. Dodd Committed to Excellence." A doormat bearing Dodd's name shows a black boy smiling next to a few white ones. About half of the school's 298 students last year were black and only 27 were white.

Jerry Hooker, who graduated from Central High School years after the desegregation standoff over the Little Rock Nine, lives at the site where he says Dodd was detained almost a century and a half ago. The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission approved his application and agreed to chip in $1,000 for the marker noting the spot's historical significance.

Hooker, 59, said the move to commemorate Dodd is not about honoring slavery, but about remembering the past.

"I don't think it has a thing to do with race whatsoever," Hooker said. "He was a 17-year-old kid with a coded message in his boot that had enough of whatever it is in him that he didn't squeal on his sources."

Still, in a city that stripped "Confederate Blvd." from its interstate highway signs shortly before dignitaries arrived in town for the opening of Bill Clinton's presidential library, the question remains: Should Dodd's name be etched into another piece of stone or metal for posterity's sake?

"There are currently more monuments to David O. Dodd than any other war hero in Arkansas," Potok said. "You would think that at some point it would be enough."

Friday, October 12, 2012

SCV Calls for Investigation of Carter House Association

Press Release from the Sons of Confederate Veterans

For Immediate Release

Contact: Allen Sullivant
Phone: 615-971-7484

Sons of Confederate Veterans Request Investigation of Battle of Franklin Trust by State Officials

The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) announced today that an attorney retained to investigate allegations of mismanagement and improper conduct by members of the Boards of Directors of both The Carter House in Franklin, Tennessee, and its management group, of The Battle of Franklin Trust (BOFT), has uncovered numerous instances of apparent disregard for the legal requirements for operating non-profit corporations, conflicts of interest on the parts of several members of both boards, and a possible misuse of state funds. As a result of this investigation, the SCV has requested the Tennessee Historical Commission to undertake its own investigation, and to involve other state offices such as those of the Attorney General and State Comptroller as they see fit. The Carter House is a state-owned historic site, under the stewardship of the Tennessee Historical Commission, and is one of Tennessee's premier tourist destinations.

Managed under the auspices of the Carter House Association since the 1950s, practically all control of the Carter House was signed away to the Battle of Franklin Trust three years ago in what some are calling a political maneuver, one which may be costing the taxpayers of Tennessee. Now, the Battle of Franklin Trust is requesting the Tennessee Historical Commission to deed related state property to them. Surprisingly, two of the people making the request have strong ties to the state, one being a state commissioner, and the other being the wife of a state commissioner.

"We were troubled to discover that state funds were possibly being used to make payments on an existing mortgage against Carnton Plantation, a privately owned historic site which is also managed by the Battle of Franklin Trust" said William Speck, Heritage Chairman for the Tennessee Division of the SCV. The mortgage in question was initiated by Marianne Schroer, wife of TDOT Commissioner John Schroer, when she was chairman of the board of directors of the Carnton property. She now holds the same position on the board of the Battle of Franklin Trust. Marianne Schroer and another state commissioner, Tourism Department head Susan Whitaker, who is also a board member for the BOFT, have spear-headed the BOFT's effort to obtain title to taxpayer-owned property.

Mr. Speck added, "The Carter House property belongs to the people of Tennessee and no portion of it should be given away to any group whose financial situation is questionable and whose grasp of proper management practices is apparently deficient. Therefore, the SCV retained the services of attorney Randy Lucas, and his investigation has confirmed that the problems with the Battle of Franklin Trust rise above mere carelessness. Mr. Lucas has outlined a number of deficiencies and conflicts of interest among board officers, and has now forwarded his findings to the Tennessee Historical Commission."

The SCV is requesting the Tennessee Historical Commission to vote against any concept of transferring property to the Battle of Franklin Trust. Further, the SCV is requesting that the Tennessee Historical Commission immediately open an investigation into the BOFT and the legal issues and financial questions brought forward by their attorney, involving any state agencies they feel necessary. Finally, the SCV requests a decision as to whether the contract between Carter House and the BOFT is legally binding, because of the "perpetual" control given over a state-owned property, and because the Carter House board president who solely approved the contract is an officer on both boards, which appears to be a classic conflict of interest.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is an international organization of descendants of Confederate soldiers and the nation's largest military history and genealogy society. Formed in 1896, the SCV owns, operates, and manages many historic properties, including Winstead Hill Memorial Park in Franklin, the General N.B. Forrest Home in Chapel Hill, and Beauvoir - the last home of Jefferson Davis, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Its headquarters are in Columbia, Tennessee, at historic Elm Springs.