Regimental flag raised at Henry Brown’s gravesite
On the morning of February 21st, 2003, reenactors assembled for the short march down Darlington’s Brockington Road to Henry’s final resting place. Upon arrival, Colonel Vic Phillips of the Pee Dee Rifles announced everyone in the program and signaled for each section.
Mr. Allen Kelley gave the opening prayer. The 37th’s 1st Sgt. Harrison opened the ceremony with the purpose statement. Corporal Merrill of the 37th Texas reiterated Brown’s service in the Confederate army followed by Pee Dee Rifles 1st LT Commander Ken Howle’s history of the 21st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry. Ms. Wilhelmina Johnson, Darlington County Councilwoman, and Mr. Ronnie Ward, Mayor of Darlington, offered their words.
The climax was the raising of the regimental flag of the 21st SCVI by 1st LT Commander Ken Howle and 1st Sgt. Harrison. The wind added its touch by unfurling the 21st SCVI flag immediately upon reaching the top. Colonel Phillips then dedicated the Confederate Iron Cross graciously placed by the Pee Dee Rifles Camp.
The company then formed and fired a 21-gun salute to this true Southern Patriot. Sgt. Harrison again addressed the crowd with a closing speech which ended with the official commissioning of the 37th Texas Cavalry’s new 3rd Lieutenant and honored friend, Dewey Barber, owner of Dixie Outfitters. The closing prayer was then delivered by Allen Kelley.
Members of the Pee Dee Rifles, 8th SCVI, 21st SCVI, and 23rd SCVI were instrumental in making this day happen.
We offer our thanks to Ms. Johnson for attending and speaking despite personal health concerns. Her words about Henry Brown were inspiring not just for the man of honor, but for us all as his life’s lessons remain worthy of consideration and emulation. Her recognition of how past cooperation and respect between Black and white communities provide a lesson for the present and future was particularly pointed.
Mayor Ward offered words of encouragement and compliment to his community, the community Henry Brown helped build after the war by doing no more than just being himself. Henry Brown’s spirit lives on in his followers in the community.
The hard work and dedication of Corporal Merrill, 37th Texas Co. B, is of particular note since his efforts made this event possible. 1st SGT Harrison’s attendance from Virginia is also noted and appreciated.
This ceremony establishes the only grave of a Black Confederate soldier marked by the permanent flying of a regimental flag of the Confederate States Army. It is also marked by the approval, cooperation, and support of both city and county governments in a Southern state directly under assault for daring to have pride in its history.
It is only the beginning.
See original site below for photos, etc.
Originally published at: http://37thtexas.org/html/henrybrown.html
copyright © 2003, Michael Kelley