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Date Posted: Thursday, June 22 2006, 11:49am
Author: 1st Sgt. Ben Hatch
Subject: After Action Report - Rockford Cemetery
Greetings All: I want to apologize profusely for the tardiness of this report.
The Order of Confederate Gray gathered in Lamar County this time, to honor a Confederate interred at Rockford Cemetery.
William B. Hatch, Private, Company C, of the 1st Texas Cavalry(Yager's Cavalry), was a veteran of the battles of Corinth and Franklin. He lived most of his life in Lamar County, Texas.
This event marked a first for the Grays: the Saturday night before the ceremony we enjoyed the first overnight camp of the Order of Confederate Gray. We had obtained camping priviledges from the cemetery association. David Dunn, Bob Looney, Capt. Furlow, Ben Hatch, and a new member, Gene Goddard, were participants in this first for our group. We had a shelter half and 2 A-Frame tents set up as a camp; our stand of Colors consisted of 1st Sgt. Hatch's Third National garrison flag, with Capt. Furlow's large Stainless Banner, and the Battle Flag of the 3rd Texas Cavalry, so faithfully replicated by Capt. Furlow. The Confederate Grays Banner was also present, of course. This was actually the third time our Grays Banner has been posted at Rockford. Gene Goddard also displayed a variant of the Battle Flag.
The camp was very enjoyable; the weather was great, though warm. A breeze helped a lot. Very good conversation and fellowship. A sunset memorial service was held for the Confederate veterans at Rockford in lieu of the sunrise vigil, presided over by Capt. Furlow. After dark, the grill was fired up, and Gene's sausages and Bob's flute made the evening fine, as a large yellow moon rose. And since it was a summer Saturday night, some corks were pulled as well...
Sunday morning we awoke to more great weather, as well as bacon and scambled eggs a la Capt. Furlow. By 11 AM, we had donned our gear and had fallen in, as folks began arriving for the Rockford Reunion, which was held in conjunction with this headstone dedication. Randy Arrick, Paul Martin, and Tom Bennett also arrived Sunday morning to participate in the ceremony. After hearing a paper read by 1st Sgt. Hatch, the Color Guard retrieved the Colors for this ceremony, which were the 3rd Texas Cavalry Battle Flag and the Grays Banner.
After marching out to the gravesite, the Colors were posted at the head of the grave. Color Sgt. David Dunn and 1st Sgt. Ben Hatch formed the Color Guard. After grounding arms, 1st Sgt. Hatch stepped forward to pay an individual tribute to his ancestor, and fired the solitary salute over the grave. The members of the Honor Guard then paid their tributes to Private Hatch, of the 1st Texas Cavalry.
After re forming ranks, the Honor Guard then rendered a three-volley Salute to Private Hatch. The Honor Guard just happened to include 7 Rifles this time, so a wonderful 21-gun Salute was given to Private William B. Hatch, CS Army.
The Color Guard then retrieved the Colors, and the Honor Guard marched back to the Chapel. After words of thanks from Capt. Furlow and 1st Sgt. Hatch, they were dismissed to join in the Rockford Reunion. The food was just as good and plentiful as last year.
I received several comments from the folks who watched our ceremony about how struck they were by the solemnity and reverence of our service. They felt it was certainly due to the Confederate soldier, that level of reverence. We impressed another bunch of folks, boys!
I want to thank again all those who were able to make it out there. It is really a remote spot, but that was also a prt of its charm. And the campout went really well...we have GOT to do that again sometime.
Honor and Serve...
1st Sergeant Ben Hatch
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