Friends of the 1st,
I hope you don't mind me lumping you together as friends of our unit, but I truly believe that you are. I would like this friends list to grow. The 1st Alabama as it exists today isn't just the reenactors who take the field but the descendants of the original members and frankly anyone who cares about what those brave men did by staying loyal to their country.
So I feel that we are a family even though I have not met many of you. We are bound by the memory of those who sacrificed so much in order to make this country whole. It would have been so much easier for these men to fall in the Confederate ranks. Some actually did, but knew they were fighting the wrong fight and made their way into the ranks of the 1st Alabama. These men had grit, determination, courage and a selflessness that marks what can only be described as true patriots.
As you many of you know, we are working on a website that should be up and running soon. Many of you have sent usphotographs of your ancestors who served in the 1st. Thank you so much. Please keep it up. If it is practicable (how's that for Civil War terminology), I would like to have any and all exisiting photos of those who served in the original unit posted on this web page. A big order but I think it can be done.
I also want to give you all a sneak preview very soon of the website. We hope it will become a living breathing document that will change as we learn more about the historic figures who made up the original 1st as well as the exploits on the field of the reconstituted unit, the reenactors. We will be taking a camera with us and documenting some of our actions on the field, with photos to be posted on the website.
Well, certain things should not be documented. The boys do tend to get a bit agitated in plantation country. Pray for me that I can keep them under control.
Ryan "Frenchy" Dupree, our newly elected adjutant, is a webwriter for a hospital here in Birmingham. He's a native of Illinois and we almost pressed him into service last summer. I'm glad we did. Frenchy is doing the heavy lifting on the website and is probably getting getting pretty tired of my suggestions, especially with the recent birth of his son, Rylee Alexander Dupree. That boy will grow up as a good union man.
I wish you could meet our entire crew. Virtually every one of our guys has a nickname, not by the own choosing, mind you, but that of their pards. A nickname usually just comes with time. We have Hickory, Noot, Otto, Iron Mike, The Wildman, Sasquatch (the boy wears a size 15 shoe), Hurley, Orbie, Satchmo, Squeezebox, Coach, Rooster and Squid. My nickname is Dunbar. A few are still awaiting their nicknames, but they will come with time.
We are a very close-knit group. Many of our members have commanded the unit at one time but went back in the ranks as privates. This is my second stint as commander. I think the boys were a bit in their cups when they elected me, but I do love them all despite their occasional errors in judgement.
I wish you could visit our camp at night. Frenchy will pull out his guitar. Noot plays a mandolin, and I play banjo. We play old-time music, some of which the original troopers of the 1st might recognize. I only wish we had a fiddle player. I must confess that adult beverages are passed around the campfire. We are a God-fearing group, but teetolers we are not. After all, we are cavalrymen.
We usually eat pretty well in the field. I expect we will have a venison roast cooked in a stew pot over the fire at our next event, which is Bibb Furnance or Brierfield, Ala. next month. Bibb Furnace is our first event of the year. I can report to you that the boys are rarin' to go. They want action. Soon they will have it. Soon it will be time for boots and saddles. And wherever we go, we know that you will be there with us and for that we say thanks.
Your most obedient servant,
Capt. Dean Barber
1st Alabama Cavalry, Co. C, USV
2003 Event Schedule, 1st Alabama Cavalry, Co. C, USV
March 14-16, Battle of Bibb Furnace at Brierfield State Park
March 28-30, Battle of Gainesville, Gainesville, Alabama
May 3-4, Forrest-Streight Raid, Blountsville, Alabama
May 23-25, Tannehill Ironworks, McCalla, Alabama
June 6-8, Brice's Crossroads, Baldwyn, Mississippi
September 5-7, Battle of Tunnel Hill, Tunnel Hill, Georgia
September 26-28, Battle of Mule Crossing, Winfield, Alabama
October 24-26, Battle of Murfreesboro, Spring Hill, Tennessee
November 7-9, Battle for the Armory, Tallassee, Alabama