Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dozens of Markers, Monument Dedicated at Sandlick Cemetery

By Richard G. Brown and David Chaltas

On Memorial Day, May 28, 2007, the Colonel Ben E. Caudill Camp No. 1629 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans hosted a military salute and dedication at the recently placed monument and restored graves of more than four dozen Confederate soldiers. The cemetery, located in Whitesburg of Letcher County, Kentucky, had remained hidden under thick foliage of undergrowth that prevented anyone from viewing the graves.

In January of 2006, members of the camp began to clear the brush and debris from the cemetery. After two weekends of backbreaking labor, the military style rows of graves began to appear. Now clear of the dense foliage, camp members grubbed out the stumps and roots plowed the area and then sowed grass.

Four soldiers already had Confederate tombstones and eight more were identified. The camp obtained tombstones for these eight men and placed thirty-six more unknown tombstones. A monument honoring the graves was designed by camp members and purchased by money raised in the community. A granite bench, flagpole to fly a Confederate flag, two informative stones, and a Confederate soldier statute were purchased as well.

The majority of these soldiers had died in a military hospital that was established near the cemetery in the fall of 1861 by orders of General Humphrey Marshall. The general’s army was referred to as the Army of Eastern Kentucky and consisted of the 5th Kentucky Infantry, 1st Kentucky Mounted Battalion, 21st, 29th and 54th Virginia Infantries, Jeffress’ Battery and several independent cavalry companies. Disease such as mumps, measles and dysentery ravaged the Confederate army, resulting in dozens of deaths. The majority of the men were buried in the Sandlick Cemetery though some were taken by loved ones back to be buried in family cemeteries. The Yankees burned the hospital in the fall of 1862, resulting in the loss of most records. Ongoing research by the Caudill Camp and historical societies in Virginia is being conducted in an attempt to identify the unknown soldiers.

The Letcher County High School’s Junior ROTC students conducted the presentation of the flags. Dozens of Confederate re-enactors from Kentucky and Virginia marched to the cadence of a drum corps into the cemetery. After opening remarks by David Chaltas, the commander of the Caudill Camp, Kentucky State Representative Leslie Combs and Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward both gave speeches commending the Caudill Camp on their efforts to honor these southern heroes. Local musicians from Kentucky and Virginia performed period music throughout the program. After presentation of wreaths supplied by the VFW and the OCR was completed, the Confederate re-enactors and a battery of cannon fired three volleys in honor of all soldiers buried in the cemetery. A Confederate re-enactor performed the mournful tune of Taps to close the program. Our special thanks go out to our brother camps that came from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida to assist with this historical dedication.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Memoirs of George Albert DeLong (Pt 1)

This previously unpublished memoir was given to Sam Flora by a granddaughter of George Albert DeLong. DeLong is buried in the Lexington Cemetery. Only minor editing (obvious typos and capitalization errors) has been done, leaving the original wording intact.

Memoirs of George Albert DeLong
As recorded by his wife Ida C. DeLong

George Albert DeLong enlisted in the War Between the States as a private in Company D, (2nd) Kentucky Cavalry, September 1, 1862, at Lexington, Kentucky, General John Morgan's Command. Federal records show that he was captured July 11, 1863, at Providence Island, called also Twelve Mile Island; received July 12, 1863, at Military prison, Louisville, Kentucky; received August 22, 1863 at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois,- went from there to Camp Norton, Indiana. He was paroled Feb 13, 1865 and forwarded to point Lookout, Maryland for exchange. He was received February 21, 1865 at Boulwares & Coxes Warf, James River, Virginia, by Confederate States agent exchange. In a letter written by Brigadier General James Shackelford of the Federal Army to lieut. George E. Black August 1, 1863 published in a book entitled "Evansville and her Men of Mark" pages 113 and 114, General Shackelford says, "There was fighting between Federal forces and Morgan's Command between dates July 2nd, and July 26th. On the latter date a battle ensued near Salineville, on the new Lisbon Road where Morgan and his men surrendered to a force of Federal soldiers". This was known as Morgan's Ohio Raid. These captured soldiers were sent to the Ohio Penitentiary at Columbus. John Morgan and some of his men escaped from the penitentiary by means of a tunnel.

General James Shackelford was G.A.DeLong's uncle, the brother of his mother Mehitable Shackelford DeLong.

These war experiences of George Albert DeLong, written by me for our children, seem very trite and uninteresting, considering how differently they sounded as told by my husband, who had a wonderfully modulated and vivid voice. Each story had woven through it humorous incidents, emphasized by a laugh so merry and charming it was seldom forgotten.

Ida C. Delong.

This is the story of the War as related by him around the family circle:

" Before General Morgan started on his raid through Ohio he delegated eight men to make a feint on Louisville, hoping to attract the attention of the Yankees in that direction and thus cover his advance through Ohio. Forty of these men crossed the river at Providence Island, (sometimes called Twelve Mile Island) on a coal barge, so crowded that horses stood with heads outside the barge, over the water. The other forty remained on the Kentucky side until the barge could return for them. In the meantime, the Yankees were hot on our trail. I went in the first load with John Kines as Lieutenant. I had traded a fine Kentucky mare, worn out with travel, for a large raw-boned farm horse. I had requested the farmer who was riding with him to get down. This he did right speedily. After landing, we found we were pursued by the federals. We rode along the bed of a dry creek, very rocky, but with a fine growth of trees on the bank. Our vedette called "Yankees in the rear", and we started at full gallop, with bullets whistling around our heads. My horse had never heard the whiz of a bullet. He stopped and refused to move.

The Yankees were close behind. Presently a bullet grazed him. With a great jump he began running. Morris, who was in command of the squad, had been thrown and lay flat on his back in the road. My horse went over him without touching him. Lieut. Kines was behind me. Our command was stampeded in front of an army of Federals while we were but a handful. Lieut. Kines and I broke for the woods, threw ourselves from our horses, and hid behind some logs and brush, to consult as to what we should do. We were entirely separated from our squad and Yankees swarmed everywhere. We decided there was nothing for us but surrender. The first man who came along we figured was a Home Guard, so we let him pass, thinking we would rather surrender to a 'real' soldier. Soon a soldier in uniform, a little Dutchman, came by and to him we hollowed, "Hello" He answered, " Who is there?" We replied, "Confederate soldiers, who surrender." He commanded us to throw down our guns. This we did, but we bent them around a tree first. We took the loads out of our pistols, threw them one way and the barrels another, determined no Yankee should use our arms. The Home guard we let go by returned and said to the soldier, "Shoot the damned Rebels". Our little Dutch Soldier said, “No, you go fight some live Rebels," meaning those who had their guns. The Home Guard leveled his gun at Lieut. Kines. our Federal soldier knocked his gun up, and said. "If you want to fight like a 'man', I'll give the Rebel my gun, and you two can fight like men". The coward refused to do, and he made a sudden departure. We were taken to the Military Prison in Louisville where we remained several days. My mother came to see me there. We were sent from Louisville to Camp Norton, Ind. and from there transferred to Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill, where I was in prison nineteen months. I spent my twenty-first birthday there.

Through my uncle, Gen. James Shackelford's influence, a pardon-parole was obtained from Lincoln, which was never given me. I recall once I was called to the office and requested to act as secretary to the general in command, This I refused to do, saying if I did as requested, it would give one more man to the Federal force, which as a Confederate I was unwilling to do. The General was very angry and ordered me doublequick back to the barracks.

I tried twice to escape. The first time I received a box of eatables from home, in which was hidden some money. I, with some other, bribed a friendly guard to help get us out. The chance came during the coldest winter weather of that very cold season. The Yankee told me to be at a certain place at a stated hour. Arriving there, I was horrified to find three other men, the same guard had also promised to liberate, besides the two friends with me. I had promised him my watch and twenty dollars. When we met, the Yankees said the government had the day before, relined the outer side of the fence, which was twelve feet high, and that we must go over the top instead of taking off boards, as had been done on previous occasions, when prisoners escaped. The plan then made was to escape by means of a board placed standing against the fence. When the honest guard had his back turned to that part of the fence, two went over squirrel fashion, landing safely on the other side. The third man, Hewitt, by name, could not be persuaded to throw his shawl over, this attracted the attention of the guard, who fired at him. This gave the alarm and all had to run with great speed to our barracks and jump in our beds. We thus escaped detection.

continued in part 2

Friday, August 7, 2009

SCV Responds to Unconstitutional OH Parade Ban

For some reason, the government of Ironton, Ohio, doesn't think that the Constitution applies there, as members of the Kentucky Division were denied entry into last year's Memorial Day Parade for the purpose of honoring Confederate American Veterans. Needless to say, this situation is far from over (a quick Google on  constitutional law, free speech and government actors might give you an idea). The Ohio Division Commander has issued a press release condemning the heinous actions of Ironton, and laying out an explanation for those in need of education as to why Confederate soldiers are American veterans for who Memorial Day was intended to honor. For the full text of this release, here is the link: