Members of the William F. Slemons Chapter 977 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy met October 7 at the home of Sue Johnson where member Diane Mazanti presented a program about the beginning of the War Between the States in Charleston, S.C.

Diane Mazanti

Ann Burgess, foreground, listens as Diane Mazanti reads excerpts from a book about the Secessionist Convention

Mazanti read from a book entailing the Secessionist Convention and the attitudes of the men who voted to secede. After describing these feelings prior to the war, she showed photos of the hall in which they met and the churches and other structures in Charleston after the war, which were just charred ruins.

It was a very disturbing contrast in what Southerners thought could happen in just a few months the resulting discovery of what statistics had shown all along: they were outmanned and lacking proper industrial resources.

Mazanti told the story of her own grandfather’s enlistment, where he went for training, and the battles in which he fought. Most startling was how his unit only had 34 men left out of hundreds when the fighting was all over, not to mention that measles and disease wiped out countless numbers. From here to Fort Pillow, it was said one could follow his unit by the graves left behind. Very poignant and thought provoking. War is awful.

After the program, the group discussed the need to prove the information planned to be put on the Sesquicentennial Civil War Marker planned to be put on the Drew County courthouse lawn. All is done now except the primary sources needed to show that we had sixteen companies raised here in Drew County. The state committee hopes to have a marker placed in every county, and Drew County is one of the last counties without one yet placed.

We also discussed whether or not we would be honoring any of our local men with Military Service Awards.

Reports were given about the convention, and explanations were given for the six awards we received: Benevolent Activities, two awards; Most Southern Literature Read; Most Southern Books Donated to a school or library; Best Yearbook; and Most Southern Monuments Visited. I explained that this was in the 26-35 category.

In addition, we talked about the program at the convention, which was the Sweet Adelines, barber shop singers, as well as the fact that we had been pleased to have President General Lichen at the convention. Also, it was reported that one of Arkansas’ own, Pam Trammell, is running for President General at the national convention in November.

Ten members were in attendance, and one prospective member, Edith Thurman.