Newsletter of the Alabama Department, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
From the Editor
Norman Dasinger, Jr
Welcome to the inaugural edition of this Departmental communication.
The hard work done by Howard Poarch and others led to the establishment of the Alabama Department. Howard asked me to edit this bulletin as a ‘digital’ informational resource. Hopefully, it will allow the compatriots of this department to grow as a unified voice and expand on the educational opportunities offered by its members.
Hope you enjoy!
FROM THE COMMANDER’S DESK
The year of 2020 was both frustrating and rewarding. As the year progressed, camps were limited to Zoom meetings and with them the loss of personal contact and fellowship.
The best news from 2020 was the formation of a new Department of Alabama in June. This feat took many months of planning and a lot of negotiating.
We began the year with three camps and ended the year with four camps. The Col. George E. Spencer, Camp #67 was authorized in November with fifteen members. With the addition of the fourth camp the Department has shown a growth of over 90% in brothers the past two years. It appears that we are headed for substantial growth in 2021.
We have a new beginning in 2021 with the Department Web site and newsletter both being launched in January 2021. Also, each camp and the department have their own Face book page and they are linked to the Web site.
Many of the new members have asked about the dress code for meetings. The standard dress code is white shirt preferably with SUV tie, blue blazer, and khaki trousers with a kepi hat. Each brother should wear his appropriate medals.
Some camps are beginning to announce spring meetings. Check the camp Face book pages for times and locations
The Department’s first encampment will be held on June 12, 2021 at the Hampton Inn in Hoover. You should receive encampment details in February.
Howard Poarch, Commander
Department of Alabama
Chaplain’s Article #1, Department of Alabama
Barry Spink, Chaplain
A New Beginning
Well, here we are, a brand new department, made up of both those who have been looking to this day since 1997, and those who have just recently joined us. A new beginning, but not one created in a vacuum. Many members have experience, from both inside and outside of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War that will be crucial for the success of this new department. We are not a newborn abandoned in the wilderness, left to its own devices, with no guidance, help, intelligence, or talent to survive. It may be a new beginning, but in reality, this new department is more of a fulfillment of the goals of those who have gone before us, and for some that are still with us.
As you read this, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year celebrations have passed, but the underlying lesson of all of these holidays are hopefully still in your mind: family, new hope, and re-birth. Yes, 2020 was a hard year, but despite it, we still look forward and hope for a better future, to be enjoyed with our closest family, friends and associates.
For our older members who may have chafed at how things were run in previous years, for any slights, real or perceived, remember the words of Isaiah, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19). God calls us to let go of “former things,” so we can take on our new identity, this new department.
For our newer members who are unencumbered with the ‘baggage’ of how things ‘used to be,’ yet, are not sure as to how we will find our way, remember Paul’s admonition to those in Philippi, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6). I would add, if I may, to make your requests known to the department leadership as well.
Well, here it is, a new department. As your Chaplain, I stand ready to pray for you, give you Godly council (as best as I understand the wisdom of the Lord) and to provide guidance to all Department of Alabama Camp Chaplains. For you camp chaplains, below is a restatement of our duties:
The Role of the Chaplain in the SUVCW
The following is taken from the National Website (http://www.suvcw.org/cdjobs/ychap.htm) regarding the purpose and duties of the Chaplain in the Sons.
Purpose. The purpose of the office of Chaplain is to conduct such devotional services as directed by the Camp or Department.
Activities of Camp Chaplain. The activities of the Camp Chaplain should include:
- Conducting prayer at all meetings;
- Conducting grave site services for Brothers and important dignitaries;
- Conducting memorials for grave dedication or rededication ceremonies of veterans – especially Union veterans;
- Serving as custodian of the Camp Bible unless assigned to another Camp officer;
- Preparing an annual necrology of Camp Brothers and submitting the list to Department Chaplain;
- Serving as coordinator for the Camp’s Memorial Day ceremony;
- Becoming familiar with the duties of the office as set forth in the Order’s Rituals and Ceremonials. Department Chaplain.
In addition to the duties of the Camp Chaplain, the activities of the Department Chaplain should also include:
- Conducting annual memorial service at Department Encampment for deceased Brothers;
- Providing each Camp Chaplain with information pertinent to their position;
- Composing articles for Department newsletters as desired by the Department Commander;
- Preparing an annual necrology of Department Brothers and submitting the list to National Chaplain;
- Conducting memorial services for current and past officers of the Department;
- Becoming familiar with the duties of the office as set forth in the Order’s Ritual and Ceremonials.
Col George E Spencer Camp #67
The Battle of Vincent’s Crossroads
1st Alabama Union Cavalry
On October 26, 1863, the first battle the 1st Alabama Cavalry, USV, was reportedly involved in took place. The 1st was composed of men from Northwest Alabama that had Union sympathies and was under the command of Col. George E. Spencer. The 1st was returning from a scouting and recruiting mission deep inside CSA territory within Walker County, Alabama where many Southern Unionists lived. On October 26, 1863, they were surprised by Brig. Gen. Samuel Wragg Ferguson’s CSA Cavalry Brigade. The troopers of the 1st were moving through Marion/Franklin County in Alabama back into NE Mississippi- where their home base was located near Corinth- when they were attacked. (Note: The location of this action, involving elements of Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Ferguson’s Brigade and the 1st Alabama, U. S. Cavalry, has always been identified as being in Mississippi. Ferguson’s report of the action, which took place on October 26, mentions taking the road towards Fulton and a crossroad leading to Bay Springs. Both of these locations are in Mississippi. However, Vincent’s Crossroads is the former name of Red Bay, a community located just inside the Alabama state line in Franklin County.)
Ferguson, along with his regiment composed of the 2nd TN, CSA and the 2nd AL CSA, caught up with the 1st and this is an excerpt from his record of the incident: “…the advance guards met and skirmishing began–about 1.30 p. m. The enemy were formed in thick woods across the road, with an open field in front, through which, swept as it was by two pieces of light artillery planted in the road, I had to advance to the attack. As rapidly as possible I formed my lines, had the men dismounted, and attacked the enemy, who were soon driven back by the Second Tennessee, under the able and gallant leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel Morton, and a portion of the Second Alabama. As soon as the horses could be brought up the fleeing enemy were hotly pursued and their retreat converted into a wild panic. The chase was kept up for some 10 miles through dense woods and over a mountainous country until dark. Their perfect knowledge and our ignorance of the country enabled most of them, however, to escape by separating into small squads and leaving the road…”
Ferguson later in this report stated that he had virtually destroyed the 1st: …With a loss of 2 killed and 11 wounded, I have succeeded in effectually destroying the First Alabama Tory Regiment…”
However, this was not the case as the remaining troopers from the 1st that escaped that day made it back to Camp. They were resupplied and reorganized with many new recruits from NW and W Alabama into several Companies. The re-organized 1st Alabama Union Cavalry soon became a thorn in the side of the CSA in Mississippi, Tennessee and North Alabama. Then later catching the attention of Gen. William T. Sherman, who after securing TN and making his move toward Atlanta, asked the 1st Alabama Cavalry to be his personal guard and escorts through Georgia on his March To The Sea.
Now to today, history was made in 2020, when descendants of the 1st Alabama Union Cavalry was organized into the newest Camp the 4th SUVCW Camp in Alabama, the Col. George E. Spencer Camp #67. We are glad to join our Brothers of the Croxton, Wilson and Taylor Camps in the newly formed Dept. of Alabama to remember and honor our heritage from those who worn the Blue.
Sr. Vice Commander/Patriotic Instructor
John T Croxton Camp #17
The Camp’s first in person meeting is scheduled for April 17th at Tannehill Park. We will gather and then take a tour of the park and its Civil War history with Croxton Camp member Carl Addison. All members and guests are welcome.
The Camp will also host a one day tour of the battle of Chickamauga focusing on Croxton’s Infantry brigade and its actions during that two day battle in north Georgia. The tour will be in October. All interested members and guests are invited to come along. It will be a tour that comprehensively covers the entire battle while also spotlighting the camp’s namesake. It will be a great opportunity to introduce someone (old or young) to the history of the Civil War at a 9,000 acre nearby battlefield with an experienced guide—free of charge.
The Camp is also working on a one day meeting concerning Croxton’s Cavalry and its burning of the University of Alabama with a short tour of Civil War sites in Tuscaloosa. This event is scheduled for July or August.
Norman Dasinger, Jr
Pvt Richard Taylor Camp #53
The Taylor Camp met at Tedd’s BBQ in Madison on December 9th to elect new officers and to discuss future meeting locations and projects for 2021- Our thanks to Brothers Eric Alford and Brent Goodwin who were our guests. Brother Eric also provided equipment and expertise in setting up a “Hybrid” meeting with some members attending via ZOOM from home.
Our 2021 list of officers includes:
- Commander – Mark Hubbs
- Sr Vice Commander – Richard Blanton
- Jr Vice Commander – Vacant
- Treasurer/Secretary – Geoffrey Hintze
- Council Members – Dr Steve Pearce, Kent Wright and Richard Blanton
The new officers were installed during the meeting.
Brother Hubbs shared some ideas for projects in the coming year and he presented Brother Richard Blanton and Brother Geoffery Hintze with 100 year old Sons of Veteran’s membership badges as a token of appreciation for their service in 2019 and 2020 in keeping the camp active and alive.
This is the first year that the Taylor Camp has established a PayPal account. For those who already use this service it will facilitate paying dues and allow the camp to receive donations should we ever have a project fundraiser.
Although COVID will curtail many activities we hope to accomplish in the coming year, we will still try to meet quarterly. No decision has yet been made, but meetings will probably be held by ZOOM.
Taylor Camp #53 will return to the Alabama Military Collector’s show in April where we will man a recruiting and a Patriotic Education Table.
We have three new members to report, Brother Doug Wilson of Huntsville, Brother Ray Cassell of Madison and Brother John Hayes of Marion County. Brother John plans to move to North Alabama after his retirement from the Bessemer Police Dept later this year.
“The boatman comes, and comes again.
And Brothers, one by one,
He bears away far o’er the tide,
Beyond the setting sun.”
Chief Warrant Officer Edward J Nyberg Jr. 1930-2020.
The Camp was saddened to learn of the death of one of our members. Brother Edward Nyberg, retired Chief Warrant Officer passed away on October 8th in Somersworth, NH. He was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam War. Brother Edward joined our camp many years ago when he worked at Redstone Arsenal. His career took him elsewhere before he retired to his hometown of Somersworth, but he maintained his membership with the Taylor Camp.