Honoring and remembering two of the Civil War's greatest generals, the Ogeechee Rifles and Ebenezer Rifles camps of the Sons of Confederate Veterans held the annual Lee-Jackson Banquet last week.
About 100 members and guests of the Statesboro and Rincon-based camps met at R.J.'s Steakery to give out awards and change commanders in the name of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
Ogeechee Rifles Camp Commander Deke Cox opened the meeting with the reading of "Charge," a speech that was delivered by Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, commander-in-chief of the United Confederate Veterans, to the Sons of the Confederate veterans in 1906.
Cox read: "To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the Cause for which we fought ... the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history... it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations."
Cox told the group: "I started out in the Sylvania camp many years ago, but let my membership fade. Commander Mike Mull got me back into the SCV about 10 years ago, and it has become the greatest joy in my life."
There were members of numerous other camps in attendance: the "Black Creek Volunteers," the "Immortal 600," the "Dixie Guards," Camp Davis, and Camp Bartow.
After several certificates of appreciation were given out, the "Confederate of the Year" honors for the Ogeechee and Ebenezer Rifle Camps were announced.
Fifth Brigade Commander Mike Mull received the Ogeechee Camp award, and Eugene Griffin received the Ebenezer Rifles Camp award.
Well-known Southern musician Ross Moore provided the evening's entertainment. He played favorites such as "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on five-string banjo, "Shady Grove" on the Appalachian Dulcimer, "Prettiest Belle of the Ball" on the Dobro, and his own "Ghost River" on the 12-string guitar.
The swearing-in of the Ogeechee Rifles Camp officers was performed by Mull, including the installation of new camp commander Mike Sorrell. That was followed by an informal "roasting" of past camp commander Cox by his friends and compatriots.
Sorrell addressed the crowd, thanking, first of all, Cox for his years of devotion to the Ogeechee Rifles camp and the SCV. He then said: "Our country is in deep trouble...The next couple of years will decide what happens to our nation ... We, as Southerners, can help lead the way, as we have often been called the moral compass of our nation."