Sunday, June 30, 2013

Va Flaggers: Cross of Honor Ceremony, Dewey Rose, GA

On Saturday, June 1st, I had the privilege of attending the Southern Cross of Honor Dedication and Wreath Presentation in honor of Private Isham Johnson Booth, Company D, 1st Georgia Reserves, Elbert County Georgia, father of last living Georgia real son H.V Booth in Dewey Rose, GA.

The Georgia Society Order of Confederate Rose, Nancy Hart Chapter No. 1 & Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, Lt. Dickson L. Baker Camp 926 sponsored the event.  It was a beautiful, well attended ceremony, and I was honored  to represent the Va Flaggers and thrilled at the opportunity to meet Mr. Booth.

ELBERTON, Ga. — For most descendants of Confederate soldiers, their ancestor is maybe just a name in the family Bible, or a picture in a faded photograph of someone perhaps their grandparents recalled meeting.

For Herbert Booth, however, his Confederate ancestor was the man who bounced him on his knee and sent him to the fields to plow behind a mule when Booth was barely grown up enough to reach the plow handles. He was Booth's father.

Booth did something Saturday that he is believed to be the only remaining person in Georgia who could. He took part in a ceremony honoring his father's service in the Confederate Army.

The 94-year-old of Elberton was the guest of honor at a ceremony at Antioch Baptist Church, in the Dewy Rose community, where the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Georgia Society Order of the Confederate Rose made a Southern Cross of Honor presentation at Isham Johnson Booth's grave.

Isham Booth, the youngest of three brothers to serve in the Confederate Army, joined at age 16, serving in Company D of the 1sr Georgia Reserves. He was assigned as a guard to Camp Sumter, the Confederate camp for Union prisoners at Andersonville, Ga.

The camp operated for from February 1864 to April 1865. Built to hold about 25,000 prisoners, its population would eventually be about 34,000, and by the war's end about 45,000 prisoners would pass through the prison. Nearly a quarter of the prisoners would die, most from exposure and disease aggravated by having little food, which was scarce for the Confederates.

The younger Booth recalls that his father never really talked much about the war. But Herbert Booth has a vivid recollection of his father describing the Confederate prison camp as "the awfulest place he ever saw."

Isham Booth contracted yellow fever while at the camp and was sent back to Elberton to recover. By the time the 17-year-old was well enough to return, the war was over. He never returned to Andersonville and was officially listed as a deserter, a situation he corrected in 1928, six years before he died at age 87. It made him eligible for a pension of $25 a month.

Keith Jones, a descendant of Isham Booth and the author of two books about Civil War history, said Saturday that guard duty was not combat duty but neither was it without dangers.

"About 22 percent of the guards at Andersonville died doing their duty," Jones said.

Isham Booth married Herbert's mother, a 38-year-old widow, when he was a 77-year-old widower. Herbert was Isham's 12th and last child, born in 1918."

"(Herbert Booth) is one of our last real connections with those brave men who went off to fight in 1861, not for the enslavement of a race but for basic human rights," said Mike Mull, chief of staff of the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, on Saturday.

Those who seek to revise history, Mull said, especially the history of the South and the Civil War, don't always necessarily lie, "they just don't tell the whole truth."

The ceremony Saturday, organized by the Lt. Dickson L. Baker Camp 936 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, of Hartwell, Ga., drew about 100 people.

Susan Hathaway came all the way from Richmond, Va., for the event, bringing her own Confederate battle flag.

A member of the Virginia Flaggers, a group dedicated to defending the Confederate heritage, Hathaway said she was moved by the ceremony.

"Keeping alive the memories of these (Confederate veterans) is important to our history," she said. "The chance to meet and talk to someone who actually knew one of them is an opportunity almost gone, and we shouldn't miss that chance."

Special thanks to Ms. Ronda Reno for issuing me the invitation.  It was an honor to meet Ms. Ronda, and Ms. Amy Roberts and witness the good work they are doing for the Cause.

On the drive to Dewey Rose, I passed a flag display and monument, in the town of Colbert.  It was right on a busy thoroughfare and was a BEAUTIFUL sight to behold. On the way back, I stopped to admire it and took a few pics. Kudos to the Madison County Grays, Camp 1526, Sons of Confederate Veterans for this magnificent display and wonderful monument!

More photos here:

God bless Private Booth, and God Save the South!

Susan Hathaway

Va Flaggers