Last Review of the Confederacy
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Rob Jones, far right, receives assistance unveiling a Texas Historical Marker at the site of Shelby's Review from, left to right, his father, R.N. Jones, mother Frances Jones and his wife, Penny Jones, who is behind the marker. Daily Sun photo/RAYMOND LINEX II

 

1/12/2003 Permanent Marker: Monument to mark Shelby's Review unveiled in Chatfield

By RAYMOND LINEX II/Daily Sun Staff

CHATFIELD -- Once a year, since 1998, the men clad in coats of gray and blue have gathered to do battle in Chatfield. It's an annual reminder of the Civil War's Battle of Hodge Oaks Plantation, re-enacted near Chatfield. At this year's event, a year-round reminder was unveiled.

Rob Jones, wife Penny and several special guests held a dedication ceremony before Saturday's re-enactment of a 27-inch by 42-inch Texas Historical Marker, the 134th placed in Navarro County. The marker honors the last review of the Confederacy on June 2, 1865 on the banks of Chambers Creek near Chatfield, oversaw by Gen. Joseph Orville "Jo" Shelby. Shelby and his troops were the last organized Confederate unit.

"(Shelby) was a man who lost everything during the war," Jones told the 250 or more in attendance, including re-enactors. "He was immensely wealthy before the war, but he refused to surrender and go back to Missouri when he thought he had a chance to go forward."

When Shelby received word the war was over, rather than give in, he and most of his soldiers traveled south to Mexico, where they offered their military services but were denied. Jones played the role of Shelby when the re-enactors portrayed the review moments after the dedication. That segued into the re-enactment of the Battle of Hodge Oaks, complete with dozens of soldiers and life-like cannons.

During the dedication, the Rice High School band played the national anthem and "Dixie" -- twice. Howard R. Green, commander of the William Henry Parsons Camp #415, a Sons of Confederate Veterans unit that hosts the re-enactment, welcomed the crowd and introduced camp chaplain Steve Schmidt, who delivered the invocation.

Among the speakers were Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Navarro County Historical Commission Chairman Bill Young and H.K. Edgerton of the Southern Legal Resource Center, a black man currently walking from Ashville, N.C. to Austin to promote Southern heritage. Edgerton marched on the courthouse last year in an effort to have the Confederate flag re-instated. State historical commissioner Jean Ann Ables-Flatt of Terrell also attended.

"There is a great deal of history to reflect on here," said Patterson, a veteran of Vietnam and an advocate of supporting history in all facets. "We try not to commemorate things others condemn. We have to be politically correct.

"All history is politically correct in my view."

Patterson believes today's children are being shortchanged if they are not aware of all of our country's history.

"Today we make things good or bad, black or white, acceptable or unacceptable," he said. "History has never been that way, never been that easily branded."

Young lauded Jones, who researched the history of Shelby's review and submitted the information to the Texas Historical Commission for review.

"It's very difficult to run something by the review process in Austin and not have it kicked back," Young said. "Not only that, he and his wife Penny paid for the marker out of their own pockets."

The marker cost $1,250, Young said.

Edgerton spoke of his journey from North Carolina, one in which he carries the Confederate flag proudly, and was easily the most emotional of all the speakers -- and the most long-winded, boasting once he got the microphone in his hand it was super-glued. Along with brother Terry Lee Edgerton, he has stopped at schools along the way and spoken with Southern family members -- both black and white, he said -- about Southern heritage.

Edgerton said in order to attend Saturday's dedication and re-enactment, he went 200 miles out of his way. He led those in attendance in a rendition of "Dixie," accompanied by the Rice band, before he began speaking, a personal requirement.

"It's good to back in the Southern end of America," Edgerton said. "It's been a great journey coming down from the mountains of North Carolina, 20 miles a day, six days a week. ...I've had so much fun I'm thinking about doing it again."

Edgerton's Civil War-era outfit was complete with Texas buttons. He said some people have called him a hero.

"I think off all our ancestors who walked 15, 20, 30 miles a day with those heavy guns ... some of them didn't even have shoes on their feet," he said. "When they got finished walking, they had to fight all day long.

"Don't call me a hero."

During the unveiling, Jones and his wife Penny received assistance from Mr. and Mrs. R.N. Jones, Rob's parents. Frances Jones, his mother, gave the dedication speech. The marker is located off Farm-to-Market 1603.

Raymond Linex II may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]


 


H. K. Edgerton passed through the Corsicana area Monday as part of a 1,400 mile walking tour from Asheville, N.C. to Austin to raise awareness of the black Americans that earned a 'place of honor and dignity' during the Civil War under the Confederate flag. Daily Sun photo/KIRK SIDES

 

1/14/2003 Southern pride: Confederate civil rights activist walks 1,400 miles to raise awareness

By JOAN SHERROUSE/Daily Sun Staff

Noted black Confederate civil rights activist H. K. Edgerton is back in Corsicana after adding a 200-mile detour to his marathon march from Ashville, N.C. to Austin.

He was a part of the Civil War re-enactment and historical marker dedication in Chatfield Saturday, arriving in Corsicana Monday with his trademark Confederate flag waving in the biting wind.

During his last visit, he donned a Civil War-era uniform and carried his flag on the Navarro County Courthouse steps in defiance of an order issued by 13th District Court Judge John Jackson banning the display of all but the U.S. and Texas flags on courthouse property.

Thus far, Edgerton's march has taken him through some of the south's strongest bastions, including South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

He said he has encountered nothing short of astounding support all along the route as he endeavors to share his philosophy on the meaning of Dixie's true heritage as it relates to the black community's contribution to history.

Throughout the journey he has averaged about 20 miles a day, frequently attracting a band of advocates -- both black and white -- eager to join his quest, even if only for a mile.

During his stay in Navarro County, he has been hosted by the William Henry Parsons Camp No. 415 Sons of the Confederate Veterans -- and member Rob Jones -- who have provided meals, motel accommodations and encouragement.

Edgerton is chairman of the Southern Legal Resource Center's board of advisors, and he is accompanied by the firm's chief trial counsel, Kirk Lyons, and his brother, Terry Lee Edgerton, who has documented the feat on film and in pictures.

"When this is all done, we're going to produce a tape and certainly there will be a book," H.K. said. "I can't wait for people to see some of those photographs."

He went on to describe the love and support he has received along the way from southerners representing all races and walks of life.

"It's certainly going to give some of my liberal black friends ... a headache when they look at these pictures," he said.

Tuesday's goal is Wortham, but Edgerton and his entourage will return to Corsicana for the night to eat and rest.

While Terry Lee said there is no time in his brother's schedule for an unplanned visit to the courthouse, H.K. said he is not so sure he can resist the opportunity.

"That courthouse keeps coming back in my mind every day, and I do want to get over there and see that big Texas star," he said. "I dream about that star, and it was a great moment in my life standing there on it."

The epic march, which will span more than 1,500 miles, will end in Austin Jan. 25 where Edgerton will be at the center of several ceremonies and hopes to address Gov. Rick Perry.

 

Joan Sherrouse may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]

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