"Ramblins from Forrests 'Riter"

By Ed Butler, Tennessee Division
Heritage Defense Chairman ~
Dillard-Judd Camp Commander

Over the years I have read several accounts of the revival the men in the Army of Tennessee experienced during the winter of 1863-64. It is easy to understand how men, subjected to the rigors of war, would feel the need to make peace with their maker. Much to the chagrin of the atheistic liberals that wrote negative reviews, the religious fervor that was so much a part of the life of Confederate soldiers was magnanimously portrayed in the movie "Gods and Generals". I had read some of these negative reviews before I had the opportunity to see the film. I could not help but chuckle to myself as I watched Confederate leaders and soldiers praying and asking God for guidance and direction in their life and ending their prayers with the words "not my will but thyne". My amusement was centered around the fact that the prayers must have seemed to be of interminable duration to an atheist. Since viewing the movie I have thought of several incidents I have read that demonstrated the unwavering belief in God that enabled many Confederate soldiers to continue the fight.

General Forrest is not portrayed as a very religious man in his early life or during the war in any of the accounts of his life that I have read. But, there are many references to the fact that he paid special attention to the spiritual needs as well as physical needs of his men. After one of the battles in which he captured several of the enemy he was told that a Chaplain was among the prisoners. He sent for the Chaplain that evening and invited him to share the evening meal. After the meal and an extended conversation he told the Chaplain "I am of a good mind to keep you here with me but I guess your own men need you more than I do". With that he had the Chaplain ushered back to join the prisoners.

A great many of the books I have read that were written by or about our ancestors mention the spirituality of the Confederate soldiers. The Sons of Confederate Veterans was founded as a non-religious organization but there are many references in our services, our meetings, and our literature to the spiritual needs of mankind.

In his keynote address at the Joe Johnson Camp Banquet in February, Commander-in-Chief Wilson emphasized the need to renew our efforts to guard the

history of our ancestors, to emulate their virtues, and to perpetuate the principles they loved. He encouraged us to "hold to the high ground" and always do that which is honorable. That message has been echoed at other meetings by other leaders of this organization. It conveys the reason we exist and is part of the bond that unites us. It is indeed gratifying to be associated with men of honor and principal in this Camp, in the Tennessee Division, and the world over. It is a Southern thing that many movie critics just do not understand! I would like to thank the members of the Dillard-Judd Camp, the Champ Ferguson Camp, and the new General Dibrell Camp that attended the school programs we presented in recent weeks. This is one of the most important events we conduct as it gives us the opportunity to tell "our history and our story, our way" to a large number of students. This may be the only time many of these students will ever hear the Southern version of "The War".

Walter Anderson is becoming a real recruiting machine. Thanks to him, Philip Rodgers turned in his application at the March meeting. Recruiting is the one thing all of us can do that requires no special effort. We all meet people in our everyday routine that might want to be a part of the SCV if we would only take a few minutes to share what we are all about. It is the most important thing we can do for our Camp, the Division, the International Organization, and our ancestors. Bring someone with you to the May meeting. Remember - we will have the Lee-Jackson Banquet on April 19 and will not have a regular meeting in the month of April.

APRIL IS CONFEDERATE HISTORY & HERITAGE MONTH in Algood, Baxter, Cookeville and all of Putnam County.

The Dillard-Judd Camp have had CONFEDERATE HISTORY & HERITAGE MONTH proclamations executed by the following government officials.

The Honorable Ms. Kim Blaylock,
Putnam County Executive

The Honorable Ms. Lisa Fowler, Esq.
Mayor - City of Algood

The Honorable Jeff W. Wilhite,
Mayor - City of Baxter

The Honorable Dr. Charles Womack, M.D.,
Mayor - City of Cookeville