January 17, 2008
Commander and Camp Members,
As the newly elected Commander for Camp 1463, I would like to take this opportunity to personally invite you and your families to join us in the upcoming Battle of Olustee Festival held in Lake City, Florida. The event will be held during February 15th through 17th, 2008. I am not writing this for the Lake City’s Blue-Gray Army, who host this event annually. Besides trying to start an annual SCV “get together” at Olustee for Camps that attend, I am attempting to build the membership of our small Camp up as well as expand the scope of what Camp 1463 does.
Our Camp is the “Home” SCV Camp where the Battle and Festival are held, but we have never attempted to notify all of the SCV Camps within a reasonable driving distance to the site of the event. Many Camps do attend the Festival, but they are not aware of the many smaller, yet extremely significant events that are also part of the Festival. Traditionally, our Camp has been made up of a small yet dedicated group of men, but we simply do not possess the manpower required to cover all of the areas we need to. This is where I need your assistance.
The main event where your help would have a direct impact is at the opening ceremony for The Battle of Olustee, which is the Oaklawn Memorial Ceremony. The Blue-Gray Army (which consists mostly of Yankee reenactors) organizes and directs the entire festival, which includes this ceremony. The Blue-Gray Armies Ceremony consists of a generic memorial with the Southern troops who fought there barely, if at all, mentioned. To me this seems ironic since it was a Southern victory, and we are at a cemetery with Southern soldiers from that battle. When the “Official” ceremony is concluded it generally is not noted that Camp 1463 will then conduct our Ceremony where we eulogize and honor the 155 Confederate Soldiers who were direct casualties of that battle, and who now rest there. Luckily, some UDC and OCR members along with a few members from other SCV Camps remain. We attempt to get one SCV member to stand vigilance before, during and after the ceremony to show our respects. However, with too few active members, we usually fall short of this goal. One of my goals when I assumed Command in January is to rectify this (and other) problems. This is why I am asking if you and your Camp members and family (or those who have the ability to show) would show up for the Southern Memorial Ceremony (preferably in uniform/period clothing) to assist us in honoring our fallen ancestors. This alone would be a tremendous help for us!
We are also called upon to represent the SCV during the parade as the Honor Guard. We could use several men to join us “at the front” and help us carry the flags of our Forefathers. This would help show the solidarity that we share with one another.
I am sending you a copy of the Confederate Memorial Service program as well as a copy of the itinerary for the Battle of Olustee. There are several events where your numbers and devotion to “The Southern Cause” will do wonders for us here in Lake City. Since our Camp numbers are low, I am attempting to use this Festival as a springboard to our newly initiated membership drive. I am printing out a variety of membership oriented pamphlets that we intend to pass out to people who look, or act interested in what we are doing. Again, your numbers would help us immensely in handing out these pamphlets, and “talking up” our organization to prospective members.
I know this is a lot to ask in such short a time. If you can help us, I will be in debt to you. If you cannot make this Festival, I understand. However, as our Camp grows bigger, I really do plan to make this a yearly event where all the Camps that can make the trip will have an annual get together-the kind that makes memories!
Thank you for your time and assistance. If you have any questions, or suggestions, please write or call me at the addresses-phone numbers below. I look forward to hearing from you!
Sincerely and “For the Cause,”
Earl J. Stanley
Battle of Olustee – Camp 1463
Lake City, Florida