Tom Smith Camp notes mayor’s Confederate connection at council

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 8, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Mayor E. Dana Dickens III may have refused to declare April Confederate History and Heritage Month in Suffolk.

But thanks to the Tom Smith Camp #1702, Sons of Confederate Veterans, one of his ancestors, Pvt. William B. Dickens, 1st North Carolina Regiment, received a moment of recognition at last night’s Suffolk City Council meeting night.

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Fred Taylor, commander of the Tom Smith Camp, presented Dickens with photographs and a Confederate flag from Memorial Day 2003 ceremony at the Elmira, N.Y., cemetery where his relative is buried.

Last May, after reading of Dicken’s refusal to sign the proclamation, a member of the Buffalo, N.Y., SCV chapter contacted with Taylor.

Taylor told his comrade up north that one of Dicken’s relatives had died in a Confederate Prisoner of War Camp in Elmira. The private is one of 12,000 Confederate soldiers buried in Woodlawn National Cemetery.

Every Memorial Day, that SCV chapter puts Confederate flags out at the cemetery. Last year, the organization conducted a special ceremony, recognizing Pvt. Dickens and sprinkling dirt from his native Halifax County, N.C., atop the grave.

Although he has had the photograph and flag for several months, Taylor said he deliberately waited until this month to share them with Dickens.

&uot;It is Confederate History and Heritage Month,&uot; said Taylor. &uot;This is a time we celebrate our Confederate history and we thought this would be a special time to present them to Mayor Dickens.&uot;