Grave marker dedication ceremony
for my Great Great Grandfather,

Bailey Peyton Loftis

August 9, 2003
Dodson Branch Cemetery, Jackson Co., TN

Bailey Peyton Loftis, the third of thirteen children of Laben S. and Pollie Morgan Loftis, was born 7 Oct 1844 and passed away at age 80 on 13 Feb 1925, while visiting from Louisiana at the home of his son James Peyton Loftis near Cookeville. He was laid to rest here next to his brother on 15 Feb 1925 and this marker was recently put in place by Earl Jaquess and Tim West to honor his life.

Peyton was married twice and fathered 13 children. His first wife, Elizabeth Hawkins, daughter of John Chapman and Haley Lee Hawkins was the mother of his first six children: James Peyton, Angie, John, Millie, Viola and Nancy Ladonna. Sometime after September 6, 1890, Peyton moved to Hammond, Louisiana and on 25 Apr 1891 married Sallie Kinchen who was 30 years younger than he (and younger than 4 of his children!). Sallie bore him 7 children, the youngest being born when Peyton was 62 years old. They were Beulah, Edna, Bailey Peyton Jr., Myrtle, Almeta, William Henry Harrison 'Ted', and Annie Lucille. There are several of his grandchildren still living in the Hammond, LA area. He worked as a farmer, and labored in the Louisiana oilfields and on the railroads.

Peyton enlisted Sep 15, 1862 at Sparta, TN for the duration of the war as a Private in Co K, Dibrell's 13th Regiment, which was known as the 8th to the men in the field, and was a Cavalry Regiment in the CSA. They fought at Parker's Cross Roads, skirmished in Alabama and Georgia, then were engaged at Chickamauga. Later the unit was involved in the Atlanta Campaign, saw action at Saltville in Virginia, took part in the defense of Savannah, and participated in the conflicts at Averyboro and Bentonville.

The men fought not only on horseback, but frequently engaged the enemy dismounted and sometimes in hand-to-hand combat as happened at Chickamauga. Although it was regularly short of arms and supplies and its recruits usually had little or no training, the regiment earned a reputation for discipline and dependability. Writing after the war, General Dibrell wrote "that not a piece of artillery was ever lost when supported by the Eighth. Huggin's company of artillery used to say that they had no fear of going into battle when supported by the Tennessee cavalry brigade, of which the Eighth was a part."

It's last engagement was at Beulah, NC on April 11, 1865. The next day, the regiment learned that rumors of Lee's surrender were true and marched to Greensboro, NC. From there, it helped escort President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet to Abbeville, SC where the command was dissolved. The 8th Tennessee, consisting of only 381 men, marched to Washington, Georgia and surrendered to the 4th Iowa Cavalry on May 3rd. The men were paroled on May 9, 1865, and returned to Tennessee. Peyton was discharged at Nashville on 17 Aug, 1865.

Peyton tried twice without success to obtain a pension for his service in the War of Northern Aggression. His military records were listed under Patten Loftis,  he applied using the name B.P. Loftis, and it is believed that his visit back to Cookeville at age 80 was an effort to obtain proof of his service.

The ceremony was performed by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Dillard-Judd Camp, based in Cookeville, Tennessee.

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Not for fame, nor for place or rank, Not lured by ambition, Or goaded by necessity, But in simple obedience to duty, As they understood it.
These men suffered all, sacrificed all, - Dared all and died.

Ed Butler giving keynote address. See below for a transcript of his moving, thought provoking speech.

Special thanks to Earl Jacquess for the photographs, and Ed Butler for coordinating the service.
I'm sure
that B.P. Loftis would be very proud...

Keynote Address, given by Ed Butler
The Greatest Fighting Force Ever Assembled

Several months ago one of the myriad of emails I receive on a daily basis stated the Confederate Army was the greatest fighting force ever assembled.  Being the descendant of several Confederate Veterans, and an avid student of the War for Southern Independence in the Western theater, that statement was music to my ears.  But, I could not help but wonder just how many people understand the truth of that statement.

Throughout history there have been many armies that are candidates for "the greatest fighting force ever assembled".  The armies of the great Khans of Mongolia conquered the most territory.  They were ruthless in subduing their enemies.   The inhabitants of any city that resisted them were simply slain - men, women, and children.  The armies of Gingas and Kubla Khan were motivated by their lust for "the spoils of war".  They were seldom hungry or cold, or needed weapons in order to face their enemies, for they lived off of the fat of the land.

Alexander the Great is often considered to be the greatest warrior in the history of the world.  Thus, his armies would be a candidate for the greatest fighting force ever assembled.  They were often outnumbered but seldom out fought.  Like the armies of the Khans, they too were motivated by the possibility for gain.  Most of the men were professional soldiers that had never known any other way of life since reaching adulthood.

The Roman Legions were invincible for several hundred years. Most military scholars give credit for their invincibility to the amount of training they received.  They not only were extremely well trained in the use of their weapons, they were trained to follow orders without giving thought to their own safety and well being.  They were professional soldiers.

Time does not permit me to relate the stories of many other great armies.  Whether they were led by madmen or patriots, few armies could fight greatly superior odds with inferior weapons, while coping with ever present hunger and the deprivations that most Confederate soldiers faced on a daily basis.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans was founded to preserve the true history of the Confederate soldiers.  We have been assigned the responsibility of defending their good name.  We must guard their history, emulate their virtues, and perpetuate the principles they loved and cherished.  When we take the membership oath of the Sons of Confederate Veterans we pledge our loyalty to the United States of America.  Several members of our Camp have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.  Southerners have always been very patriotic and value their family, their community, their state, their nation, and their religion.

The American Revolution was won in the South by Southerners.  Southern blood has been spilled on the field of battle in all wars this nation has fought.  We represent a small portion of the total population of the United States but during the Viet Nam War over 70% of the Medal of Honor recipients were Southerners.  We love the United States perhaps more that many of its citizens.  We also love our history and ancestry and constantly seek to preserve the true story of the Confederate soldiers.

We often hear that America is the greatest country in the world. We have abundant resources, a diversity of climates, an industrious populace, and many leaders that seek only the best for this country, but, those are not the reasons this is the greatest country in the world.  There is only one reason and THAT is our form of government. The Constitution of the United States of America is the greatest document every written by mortal men.  You may not have read a single line of the Constitution of the United States of America since high school or college history class.  You probably studied the Declaration of Independence in history class but how long has it been since you read and studied every line and every phrase of that magnificent document?

When you understand our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, you can understand why the people in the South, in 1860, thought each state had the right to secede from the Union.

The north NOT only won the War Between the States, they also wrote most of the history books about the War.  Therein lie the reasons that many people, both north and South, understand so little about why the Southern people were willing to fight a war.  A war in which they faced great odds that would have caused men of lessor honor and valor to slink into the background.  Few people in any of these United States thought Lincoln would sacrifice over 600,000 American lives in order to save the Union.  What drove Lincoln to declare war, on what had been, just a few months earlier, people of his own country?  There is very little in the writings of Lincoln before he became president that would lead anyone to believe he loved "The Union" enough to sacrifice 600,000 lives in an effort to preserve that Union.

There was a reason Lincoln was willing to sacrifice so many lives. To say "a reason" indicates there was only one reason for the war - that would be a serious oversimplification of the true causes of the war. Many history books and modern advocates of political over-correctness state the war was fought over slavery.  When you read the Lincoln-Douglas debates, you will quickly learn that Lincoln had no desire to free the slaves and cared little about how they were treated.

According to the 1860 Census, less than 8% of the people of the South owned slaves.  To say the war was fought over slavery is a lie!  But - there is one dominate reason Lincoln could not allow the Southern states to secede.
From the time our nation was founded, the northern states outnumbered the Southern states.  During the early 1800's, when additional money was needed to fill the coffers of the Federal government, Congress simply passed additional taxes on Southern agricultural products or raised tariffs on machinery that was being imported into the South.  In 1860 only one-third of the population of the United States lived in the South but they paid over 70% of the taxes collected by the Federal government.  Most of this tax money was spent developing railroads, roads, and canals - in the north.

When the war started, few people, NORTH OR SOUTH, thought it would last more than a few months.  Almost no one in the South stopped to think about the odds they faced.  Those daunting odds justify the statement that the Confederate Army WAS the greatest fighting force ever assembled.

In 1860 the north had a white population of nearly twenty million people while the South had less than six million white residents.  The north had a black population of about 250,000, many of whom WERE slaves.  The Union's most famous general, U. S. Grant, owned slaves until the 13th Amendment of the Constitution was ratified in December, 1865 - 8 months after the war ended.  The north had a government that was already established, they had an army, a navy, tremendous manufacturing capabilities, and economic ties to the rest of the world.

The north had 71% of the population, 72% of the railroads, 81% of the bank deposits, and 85% of the factories.  During the course of the war, the north had 2,800,000 men in uniform while the South had at most only 800,000.  The South had two resources which northern historians are determined to ignore.  The value of these two resources can not be estimated with a very high degree of accuracy BUT they are the reasons the Confederate Army was 'The Greatest Fighting Force Ever Assembled'.

One of these resources was the 3,600,000 freemen of color and slaves that lived in the South.  From the outset of the war, the South placed much more value on marksmanship than penmanship.  Many Southern military leaders were poor record keepers.  Late in the war, paper became so scarce, many regiments did not have paper upon which they could keep records.  It is this lack of records that makes it extremely difficult to determine how many African-Americans served in the Confederate Army.  A descendant of a member of the 28th Tennessee Infantry Regiment who presently lives in Jackson County has done considerable research of the roster of the 28th, the 25th, and the 16th  Tennessee Infantry Regiments and the 8th or 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.  He has looked up every name on the roster of these units in the 1860 Census.  He has found 28 men on the roster of these units that were listed as "free men of color" in the 1860 Census.  In 1860, slaves were listed by number only, not by name.  Many slaves served in the Confederate Army.  None of these men are identified on the roster as being Black, they were simply listed as members of the Regiment.

The 28th Tennessee Infantry was made up primarily of men from Jackson and Overton Counties.  Neither of these counties had a large Black population in the 1860's.  Today's advocates of political over-correctness would have us believe that all African-Americans in the Confederate Army were cooks, musicians, nurses, and valets.  That simply was not true!  Many freemen of color and slaves fought in the ranks beside white men.  A 'freeman of color' named Churchwell Randalls served as Corporal in the 25th Tennessee Infantry.  He did not earn that rank while driving a supply wagon or cooking meals!  In addition to the 70,000 to 90,000 Black Confederates that served in the Confederate Army, 100 to 150,000 free men and slaves worked to build fortifications and munitions.  Most of the African-American population stayed home and worked the fields to help feed the South.

The other great Southern resource defies description with plain everyday words.  It is the primary reason the South was willing to fight a nation that had all of the advantages.  It is the reason that it took 2,800,000 Yankees four years to conquer 800,000 poorly fed, poorly equipped, poorly clad Confederate soldiers.  It IS the reason the Confederate Army was 'The Greatest Fighting Force Ever Assembled'.  That resource was the unconquerable fighting spirit of the Southern people.

Many books have been written on the ancestry of the Southern
people.  Most agree that about 50% of the people who settled in the South were of Celtic origin - they were from Scotland, Ireland, and the hill country north of London.  The Celtic people have a long colorful history.  Before Rome became a world power they conquered and sacked the City of Rome.  At one time they ruled most of Europe.  They have always been a freedom -loving, fun - loving, hard -fighting people.  It was this desire to rid themselves of the tyranny of an oppressive government and excessive taxation that precipitated the American Revolution.  When most of the New Englanders were ready to admit defeat and surrender to the British - the people of the South continued the fight.

The motives were the same in 1860 that they had been in 1776.  The Southern people were unwilling to live under an oppressive government and pay more than their share of the taxes.  The willingness to fight and sacrifice everything for freedom was contagious.  People of many national origins settled in the South.  Many Southerners who were not Celtic embraced that same fighting spirit.  Northern newspaper men, military leaders, and politicians could not understand the Southern fighting spirit.  They could not understand why the slaves did not rebel.  All able bodied white men were away fighting in the war.  The slaves could have simply slipped away to Union lines for sanctuary or they could have started a rebellion.  Most did nurture a constant and growing desire for freedom but they too felt the South was their country.  Many felt the urge to defend their country.  Many of them did fight to defend "THEIR" country and many died in that struggle.

YES - I believe the Confederate Army was the greatest fighting force ever assembled.  They did not fight to gain the spoils of war.  They did not fight for additional territory.  They did not fight because it was their job - they were not professional soldiers.  They were not great because of their weapons, their uniforms, or their ability to cope with constant hunger.  They were not great because of their leaders.

The Confederate Army was the greatest fighting force ever assembled because of their tremendous fighting spirit.  As Southerners and descendants of Confederate soldiers, we harbor that fighting spirit.  It is the adhesive that binds us together.  It is that fighting spirit that motivates us to get out of our recliners on a hot summer afternoon to honor our ancestors at a memorial service.  It is respect for that fighting spirit and the love for our ancestors that brings us together.

It is not a boast to declare that the spirit of the South was never broken, the courage of the South never quailed, the convictions of the South were never deserted, and the manhood of the South was never surrendered.

Few people in the history of this world struggled more fiercely to
defend their homeland and their rights than did the Confederate soldier.  Battle losses were staggering.  Barefooted, hungry, and outnumbered , their spirit remained unbroken as they marched directly into deadly cannon and musket fire, at times being slaughtered in tremendous numbers, only to fight again another day as though nothing had happened.  Winston Churchill was an avid student of the American War Between the States.  He summed it up best when he said and I quote, "It is to the eternal glory of the American nation, that the more hopeless became their cause, the more desperately the Southerner fought".

Is there any wonder that we admire and respect these men?  Is there any wonder that the victors of this War wrote history books that hid the true story of the Confederate Army?  Is there any wonder that today's paltry advocates of political over-correctness attempt to vilify our honorable and valiant ancestors and degrade our hallowed symbols?  This world has never known men who could or would fight with more determination.  Never, were soldiers more devoted to their "Cause".  The War Between the States was the greatest tragedy that ever occurred on American soil.  It lasted 1530 days.  There were over 10,000 skirmishes and battles.  Over 600,000 American citizens lost their life.  There were 1,000,000 causalities.  That comes to 4,550 causalities per week, or 650 per day, or 27 per hour, or one every two minutes for four years. While you have been sitting here tonight, 30 men would have been killed, captured, or wounded.

I would like to close with a quote that is inscribed on a monument in Arlington National Cemetery, a monument dedicated to our Confederate Veterans.  This inscription contains only 36 words.  I have never read 36 words that better explain why Confederate soldiers were 'The Greatest Fighting Force Ever Assembled'.

Not for fame, nor for place or rank,
Not lured by ambition, Or goaded by necessity, 
But in simple obedience to duty, As they understood it.
These men suffered all, sacrificed all, - Dared all and died.

I gave the Keynote address this evening and thought you might like to read it.  The title of this address will be used on the Monument we will erect next year and dedicate on the 24th of April, 2004. If you plan to come to Tennessee sometime in the Spring of 2004 you might consider being here the weekend of the 24th and attend the dedication of the monument.  Please feel free to share this keynote address with anyone that is interested as we are constantly having to defend the good name of our ancestors from the assalts made by the advocates of political-correctness. 
Ed Butler