ls-ls-nltr.jpg THE OLD WAR HORSE
VOLUME 13, ISSUE 3,           April 2011
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A quick jump to the articles in this issue:
Commander's Comments, Adjutant's Report, April Program (next+more),
March Program (last), Camp Officers, New Gavel, Longstreet's First Corps, Coming Events,


How ironic that today is April 2nd as  I  finally  sit  down  before  my
computer to write this month's Commander's Comments.  Ironic for several
reasons - most obvious would be that today is one-week before the  146th
anniversary  of the surrender of General Lee's vaulted and depleted Army
of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse to the Union's Army of the
Potomac.   Ironic  too  because  VCU's Basketball team is playing in the
Final Four against Butler.  Also, April has long been considered History
and  Heritage  Month  for the members of the Virginia Division, SCV, and
this  year  Governor  Bob  McDonnell  has  NOT  issued  a   proclamation
recognizing April as History & Heritage Month - at least not that I have
seen so far.  I'm guessing that since our Governor showed last year that
he is NOT a man of his word, that he does NOT have a back-bone - we will
NOT be seeing such a proclamation at all from the Governor.             

Getting back to Appomattox for just a  moment,  imagine  being  a  young
soldier  by  the name of William Ayler, Company G, 7th Virginia Infantry
who on the morning of April 9th  was  working  as  personal  courier  to
General  Robert E.  Lee.  Imagine being this young man who one minute is
listening  to  sound  of  infantry  attacking,  gaining   some   initial
success-even capturing a few cannon, and then in the next moment hearing
the attack die off as the commanders realize that they  are  surrounded,
their line of retreat is cut off and there is no possibility of success.
Then he gets summoned and is shortly thereafter standing before  General
Lee  himself who hands the young man a single piece of paper, folded and
perhaps stuffed into an envelope and he is given  instructions  to  ride
under  a  white flag of truce through the Confederate lines to the Union
lines and is to deliver this letter to General Grant.  Does he know what
this  letter is about?  Perhaps, but also does he realize the importance
of this simple correspondence between two commanding generals  and  what
they had to say to each other that faithful day in April, 1865?         

I  don't  know the answers, and I doubt that he did either - this much I
do know.  William Ayler did exist; he was personal courier  for  General
Lee  and  he  delivered  General  Lee's  response to General Grant about
meeting to discuss the terms  of  surrender  at  Appomattox  Courthouse.
William  Ayler  is a relative of mine, and while we don't much about him
yet-this much is true.  He was a soldier who did his duty until the very
end,  and  for that I am deeply proud of him and feel that he and all of
his comrades should be recognized for what they did and  the  sacrifices
they and their families endured.                                        

The  Annual Convention of the Virginia Division, SCV, was held this past
week-end.  I am sure that we will receive  a  full  report  of  all  the
proceedings  from Walter Tucker who served as our representative at this
year's Convention.                                                      

Once again - my heart-felt Thanks to  Gary  Cowardin  for  handling  the
monthly  Old  Warhorse newsletter, and also for his continued efforts on
managing the Camp web-site.  You members don't realize  what  amount  of
time is required to do everything that Gary does every month.  Make sure
to let him know how much you appreciate his efforts.  Well done sir!    

Remember - "Longstreet is the Camp boys - Longstreet is the Camp!"

I look forward to seeing everyone at our next camp meeting!  Remember - 
Show your Confederate Heritage proudly this month!                      

Deo Vindice!                       


We were pleased to induct at our March meeting new  member  Paul  Sacra,
whose ancestor served in Company C of the 46th North Carolina Infantry. 

Adding  a  North  Carolina  infantryman  to the list of ancestors of our
members encouraged me to review the units in which our ancestors served.
All  of the combat arms are represented, as are eight states.  Ancestors
are counted only once, since we  have  in  our  Camp  several  brothers,
fathers  and  sons, and cousins descended from the same ancestors.  They
served as follows:                                                      
                State and Arm		# serving

		Virginia Infantry          29
		Virginia Cavalry           10
		South Carolina Infantry     4
		Virginia Artillery          4
		North Carolina Infantry     3
		North Carolina Cavalry      3
		Tennessee Infantry          2
		Alabama Infantry            1
		Georgia Infantry            1
		Kentucky Cavalry            1
		Louisiana Infantry          1
		Louisiana Artillery         1
		South Carolina Cavalry      1
		Tennessee Cavalry           1

				Sub total  62


		Generals                    3
		Navy                        1
		Engineer Corps              1
		Surgeon                     1
				Sub total   6
			Grand total        68

Just as they fufilled their duty  in  serving  their  nation  and  their
states,  it is incumbent upon us to celebrate their service unreservedly
every day and to see that they are not dishonored by uninformed  persons
of the 21st century.                                                    

The  Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will
hold its 2011 Signature Conference at Virginia Tech Saturday 21 May. The
topic will be Military Strategy in the War for Southern Independence (My
name for The War, not theirs).  Speakers include John Bowen, Jack Davis,
Dennis  Frye,  Gary  Gallagher,  Joe  Glatthaar,  Richard  McMurry,  Bud
Robertson, Richard Sommers, and Steven Woodworth.   Bowen  is  the  only
name  unfamiliar  to  me.   Early registration can be made through 1 May
using a form available from the Virginia  Sesquicentennial's  web  site.

Four sessions of the conference will be:
			I	Overview                     
			II	Eastern Theater              
			III	Western Theater              
			IV	Forgotten Elements of The War

The April issue of Naval History magazine, published by the U.  S.  Naval
Institute, focuses on our War for Southern Independence.  Craig Symonds,
history professor emeritus at the Naval Academy and a  prolific  author,
has  several  articles in this issue.  One deals with the dilemmas faced
by Lincoln and Jefferson Davis beginning with  Lincoln's  first  day  in
office,  5 March 1861.  Another article features Yankee Secretary of the
Navy Gideon Welles, who is less familiar to us than  some  of  Lincoln's
other cabinet members.                                                  

Nice contributions were made at the March Camp meeting to the Buck Hurtt
Scholarship Fund and to the Old War Horse.  Donations  to  these  worthy
causes are always welcome.                                              






Mike Gorman has agreed to come back and give a power point  presentation
about  Drewry's  Bluff  at  our  April  19th  meeting.  Mike has his own
website dedicated to civil war Richmond ( and is a park
ranger  for the National Park Service.  Mike is a graduate of VMI (Class
of 1998), VCU (2003), and has worked at the National Park Service  since
1999.   He  has  spoken to our camp several times before and if you were
present at any of these meetings you already know he is  a  dynamic  and
very knowledgeable speaker.                                             


Marc Ramsey is going to speak to us about the 7th SC Cavalry at the June
21th Meeting.                                                           



Cathy Wright of the Museum of the Confederacy,  started  off  by  saying
that everyone has a fantasy of putting a message in a bottle and putting
the bottle in a body of water in a hope that someone will find  it.   On
the  other  end, everyone has a fantasy of finding a message in a bottle
in a river, lake, or ocean.                                             

When the Museum of the Confederacy opened 22 February 1896 it put out  a
call  for  artifacts  to  be  donated  to  the Museum.  The response was
wonderful.  The ladies  wrote  an  accession  document  which  contained
information about the donation and about the donor.                     

A  message in a small corked medicine bottle was donated by VMI graduate
William A.  Smith of King George  County,  Virginia,.   He  had  been  a
Captain  in  the  Confederate  Army,  serving  on the staff of Brigadier
General John George Walker.                                             

The bottle was placed in the Virginia Room of the  White  House  of  the
Confederacy which was serving as the Museum.                            

Recently,  the  Museum decided to open the bottle and read the 150+ year
old message.  Conservator Scott  Nolley  of  Williamsburg  examined  the
bottle  for  cracks.   The cork had bonded to the bottle.  He warmed the
bottle and pulled out the cork with tweezers.                           

The message was then taken to a paper conservator.  He gently humidified
the  message  for  10  days and unrolled it, finding that it was a coded
message.  The message was copied and sent to two cryptologists, who were
able  to  break  it.   It was dated 4 July 1863 and was to Major General
John Clifford Pemberton, in command of Confederate forces at  Vicksburg.
General  Walker  said  that  he  was on the west side of the Mississippi
River and could offer  no  assistance  to  Pemberton.   Many  people  in
Vicksburg  were  living  in  caves  to  avoid Yankee artillery barrages.
People were eating animals.  Feeling that the  situation  was  hopeless,
Pemberton  had  surrendered  to  Grant on 4 July, ironically the date of
Walker's message to Pemberton.  Grant did not want the responsibility of
feeding 30,000 Confederate prisoners, so he paroled them.               

Captain Smith was never able to deliver the message and kept it.  It was
in a bottle so that he could throw it into the river to sink if he  were
to be captured.  There was a bullet in the bottle for weight.           


March meeting attendance: 29


Commander: Michael Kidd 270-9651 1st. Lt. Cmdr.: Taylor Cowardin 359-9277 2nd Lt. Cmdr.: Thomas G. Vance 334-3745 Adjutant/Treasurer: Walter Tucker 360-7247 Judge Advocate: Harry Boyd 741-2060 Quartermaster: R. Preston Nuttall 276-8977 Chaplain: Henry V. Langford 474-1978


War Horse editor & Webmaster: Gary F. Cowardin 262-0534 Website:

Thanks goes to Bobby Williams for a nice new Gavel.
The wood is from a cleanup at Oakwood Cemetery ~2008



Longstreet Camp Donors to  Virginia  Division  Special  Funds,  Old  War
Horse, Hurtt Scholarship Fund, and Longstreet Camp General Fund.  As you
know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year and we  do  not
meet in August.          1 July through 28 February 2011                

Bill Akers        Walt Beam         Brian Cowardin        Clint Cowardin  
Lee Crenshaw      Ray Crews         Jerold Evans          Michael Hendrick
Pat Hoggard	  Crawley Joyner    Jack Kane             Andy Keller     
Mike Kidd         Peter Knowles,II  Lewis Mills           Conway Mocure   
Bob Moore         Joe Moschetti     Joe Price             Waite  Rawls    
Peyton Roden,Sr.  Cary Shelton      Chris Trinite         Walter Tucker   
Hugh Williams                                                             


Visit Virginia 150 Sesquicentennial Events
VA Sesquicentennial Logo
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial Announces: Rare Robert E. Lee U.S. Army artifacts will be on exhibit, April 16 - 30, 2011. Significant new information about Robert E. Lee will be revealed at the April 16th Evening Program. All programs are free, but reservations are required. Call 703-235-1530.
Saturday, April 16, 2011 More than 15 museums and historical sites in partnership with The Future of Richmond's Past offered a full day of free activities for the public at Civil War & Emancipation Day: the 150th Anniversaries. Civil War & Emancipation Day Free shuttle transportation will be available.
Visit The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and their Events Calendar
Visit the The Museum of the Confederacy Online and their Events Calendar for MOC Events Calendar
Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier and their Special Events Calendar

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