HISTORY OF THE
COLONEL HARRY W. GILMOR CAMP #1388
SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

The Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp #1388, Sons of Confederate Veterans was chartered on June 6, 1981. The Camp was chartered with sixteen members. They were:

The Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp has a long history of honoring and remembering our Confederate ancestors and of living up to The Charge given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans by General Stephen Dill Lee.

The early years of the Gilmor Camp included a number of successful events and activities. In September, 1981, Harold Goettner managed an SCV recruiting table at the Battle of Shiloh reenactment held in Jacksonville, Md. In October, 1981, the Camp participated in a commemoration at the Monocacy Battlefield, and 1st Lt. Commander Jerry Heacock married Fay Marie Reitzel Ward in a Confederate wedding ceremony held at the Trinity Episcopal Church, Long Green, Md.

In June, 1982, the Camp held its first ceremony at the grave of Private Eli Scott Dance. Private Dance died in 1945 and was Maryland's oldest Confederate veteran.

In August 1982, the Gilmor Camp received the National SCV B. H. Webster Scrapbook Award from SCV Commander-in-Chief Colonel Joseph Mitchell at the SCV National Convention in Oklahoma City.

On December 19, 1982, the Camp held a ceremony at the grave of Colonel William Norris at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Reisterstown, Maryland. Colonel Norris was the commander of the Confederate Signal Corps and the Confederate Secret Service.

COMMANDERS:

Commanders of the Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp #1388 have been as follows:

RECRUITING:

Each year from 1984, until it was discontinued after 1997, the Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp was pleased to maintain an SCV recruiting table at the Baltimore Civil War Show and Sale sponsored by Courtney Wilson, owner of American Military Antiques. The table at the first show in 1984 was manned by Compatriots E. Loring Best, Joe Heacock and Elliott Cummings.

This was always an excellent show and we met many friends and recruited many members at the event. Most of our displays were planned and designed by Compatriot Michael K. Williams. The Camp was honored to receive the Judges Award for these displays in three consecutive years; 1986, 1987, and 1988.

In July 1988, the 125th Anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg was held near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Over 12,000 reenactors and several hundred thousand spectators attended this event. For the entire four day weekend, one of the hottest in memory, Compatriot Michael K. Williams manned an SCV recruiting tent at the event. The names of potential SCV members from all over the country were forwarded to SCV Headquarters by Compatriot Williams.

COLOR GUARD:

The Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp Color Guard was formed in 1987 under the leadership of Compatriot Thomas R. Foster. The Color Guard was schooled in the military drill of the War Between the States period by Compatriot Robert E. Lyons who was also a longtime reenactor with Co. D 1st Virginia Volunteers. The original concept of the Color Guard was for members to duplicate as closely as possible the uniform of their Confederate ancestor. Some of the early events in which the Gilmor Camp Color Guard participated were:

In 1990, Compatriot Robert Lyons took over command of the Gilmor Camp Color Guard. For several years the Gilmor Camp has been pleased to join with Compatriots from other SCV Camps in the Maryland Division, and on occasion with Compatriots from Camps outside of Maryland, to form the Maryland Division Color Guard. Some important events in which the Maryland Division Color Guard participated include:

In addition to the above, each year since 1987, the Gilmor Camp Color Guard/Maryland Division Guard has participated in the:

The Gilmor Camp Color Guard has also participated in the Annual Massing of the Colors Ceremony at the United States Naval Academy, the Armed Forces Day Parade in Ferndale, Maryland, and the Annual Veterans Day Parade in Leonardtown, Maryland.

AWARDS:

A number of Gilmor Camp members have received National SCV Distinguish Service Medals and Meritorious Service Medals. They include: Jerry Bayer, Michael K. Williams, Elliott Cummings, James Kurapka, Robert E. Lyons, Tom Foster, and Ralph Vincent.

As an example of excellence, Compatriot Ralph Vincent was awarded his medal for his untiring efforts in saving the President Street Station in Baltimore from destruction.

Three Gilmor Camp members have received the Haskins/Claggett Award. This is the highest award for service to the Sons of Confederate Veterans given by the Maryland Division, SCV. The recipients of this honor were Michael K. Williams in 1988, P. James Kurapka in 1998, and Elliott Cummings in 1999.

REAL DAUGHTERS:

The Gilmor Camp has had the honor to present SCV Real Daughters Medals to three daughters of Confederate soldiers. They were:

STATE CONVENTIONS:

The Gilmor Camp has had the honor of hosting several Maryland Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans Conventions as follows:

SPECIAL EVENTS:

Each year since 1986, the Gilmor Camp has held its annual candlelight banquet. This is a formal occasion with fine food and fellowship. At the beginning of the evening each guest is invited to light a candle in remembrance of their Confederate ancestor. In addition, candles have been lighted to remember all Confederate prisoners of war, all Confederate Naval forces, and all Confederates that rest in unknown graves. With the exception of 1989, when it was held at the Valley Inn, this wonderful event has been held at the Hopkins Club at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

CEREMONIES:

Over the years, the Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp has planned and carried out many ceremonies to honor our Confederate ancestors. The following is a summary of only some of these ceremonies:

Confederate Memorial Day Ceremony

Since the early 1980's the Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp #1388 has worked with the Maryland Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy to plan the annual Confederate Memorial Day Ceremony at Confederate Hill, Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland. This ceremony is usually held on the first Saturday in June closest to the birthday of President Jefferson Davis. Over 600 of our honored Confederate dead are buried on this sacred ground.

Since 1988, the Gilmor Camp has assisted the U.D.C. in having a large number of Confederate reenactors at this ceremony. At various times, an honor guard to fire a rifle salute, a three gun artillery battery and a troop of mounted cavalry have attended the ceremony. The Gilmor Camp/ Maryland Division, SCV Color Guard has always participated in this event.

Guest speakers at Confederate Memorial Day have included David Gaddy, co author of "Come Retribution" from the Col. William Norris Camp, and Steven Bockmiller, Michael K. Williams and Thomas R. Foster from the Gilmor Camp. In 1993, Gregg Clemmer of the Colonel William Norris Camp hosted a part of the ceremony to present the Confederate Medal of Honor posthumously to Private Benjamin Welsh Owens of the 1 st Maryland Artillery C.S.A. who is buried at Loudon Park.

Lee-Jackson Day Ceremony

Since 1988, the Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp has planned and sponsored, along with the Maryland Division, U.D.C., the annual Lee-Jackson Ceremony at Wyman Park in Baltimore, Maryland. The ceremony is held at the Lee-Jackson double equestrian monument across from the Baltimore Museum of Art. This magnificent monument was sculpted by Laura Fraser and was dedicated in 1948. The V.M.I. Corps of cadets, the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore attended the 1948 dedication ceremony. The great biographer of Robert E. Lee, Douglas Southall Freeman, was the guest speaker.

Each year, the Gilmor Camp invites both Federal and Confederate reenactment troops to participate in this impressive ceremony. In recent years, between 200 and 300 reenactors have attended the Lee-Jackson ceremony. Confederate military units and reenactors have joined us from the Army of Northern Virginia, Confederate Military Forces, the Valley Division, Maryland Members of the Confederacy and many other groups and independent organizations. C.S.A. Field Music, led by Patricia Smith, has always graciously provided excellent fife and drum military music for Lee-Jackson Day. In 1999, the Gilmor Camp had the honor of having General Charles Hillsman, Commander of all Confederate forces at the 135 th anniversary of the Battle of Gettyburg, lead the march on of troops.

Typically, over 30 wreaths and floral tributes are presented at the monument by hereditary, patriotic, military and educational organizations. Those attending have included the Baltimore Civil War Roundtable, the Virginia Military Institute Alumni, the Virginians of Maryland, the Washington and Lee Alumni and numerous Maryland Chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

In addition, our special guests and speakers have included Gilmor Camp Compatriot and WCBM radio talk show host, Charles Lester Kinsolving, as well as WBAL radio commentator Alan Walden and SCV Commander-in-Chief Patrick J. Griffin III.

The Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp is honored that over the years so many of those dedicated to remembering these two great Confederate heroes have always supported the Gilmor Camp Lee-Jackson Day Ceremony. Even in the coldest weather, in one year it was minus 20 degrees wind chill index, you have been with us for this occasion. Thank you.

Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Birthday Ceremony

Each year, on Colonel Harry Gilmor's birthday, January 24, Gilmor Camp members and friends gather at 12 noon at the grave of Colonel Gilmor in Loudon Park Cemetery. At the grave, we drink a toast to our great Camp namesake, take pictures, and generally enjoy an hour or so together remembering Harry.

This ceremony was started some years ago by Steve Bunker, a local Baltimore historian and reenactor with the 2nd Maine Volunteer Cavalry and members of the Baltimore City Police Department. Harry Gilmor was Police Commissioner of Baltimore in the 1870's. Retired and active police officers still join with us each year to raise a glass for Harry.

This is an informal, unplanned occasion, but always an important event for the Gilmor Camp.

PROJECTS:

Historic:

In the early 1980's Harold and Wayne Goentter compiled a list of the Confederate dead at the four major Confederate cemeteries in Maryland; Loudon Park in Baltimore, Mt. Olivet in Frederick, Rose Hill in Hagerstown, and Point Lookout in St. Mary's County. The book was sold as a fund raising effort to help preserve the 17 Confederate Flags held in the care of the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1987, over $500 was presented to the Maryland State Archives for that purpose.

In 1987 and 1988 members of the Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp worked with the Maryland Historical Society to reestablish a meaningful War Between the States exhibit at the Society. A previous display housed in separate Union and Confederate Rooms had been closed for some years.

In 1995 and 1996, the Gilmor Camp worked with the staff of the President Street Station Museum to assure a fair and balanced presentation of Southern history. President Street Station was the site of the heroic April 19, 1861 effort by Marylanders to resist the invasion of their sister Southern States by Federal troops.

Confederate Grave Clean Up:

The Gilmor Camp has managed several major grave clean up projects. On July 23 and 24, 1988 the Camp, under the leadership of Chaplain Mike Lejewski, cleaned the Merriman Cemetery in Baltimore County. On November 10, 1990, under the leadership of Compatriot Steve Bockmiller, the Camp completed a clean up project at the grave of Colonel Ridgeley Brown of the 1st Maryland Cavalry C.S.A. and his family in Montgomery County.

In addition, the care and up keep of Confederate Hill at Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland is an on going project of the Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp #1388. Over 600 Confederate dead are buried on Confederate Hill at Loudon Park.

CAMP NEWSLETTER:

The Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp # 1388 has published a monthly newsletter since 1984. From 1984 until 1990 it was titled the "Blade." In 1990 it became the "Gilmor Blade." Editors of the newsletter have included: Gregory Young, Elliott Cummings, Jim Kurapka, Steve Bockmiller, Pat Saunders, and our current fine Editor Steve Smith. The newsletter is sent to all Gilmor Camp members, to other Camps throughout the Confederation, and to a number of subscribers and friends.

MEETINGS:

From 1981 until January, 1998 the Col. Harry W. Gilmor Camp met at the Pikesville State Police Barracks, site until 1932 of the Maryland Confederate Soldiers Home. This meeting place was obtained for us with the help of Maryland State Controller, Louis L. Goldstein, now deceased. Unfortunately, we were unjustly asked to vacate this site in January, 1998 by the Maryland State Police.

We now meet at the Baltimore County Historical Society Alms House in Baltimore County.

SPEAKERS:

The Gilmor Camp has been pleased to have many fine speakers over the years. They have included: Scott Sheads of the National Park Service at Fort McHenry; Courtney Wilson, an expert on military arms; Larry Denton, author of "A Southern Star for Maryland;" Robert Driver, a contributor to the "Virginia Regimental Series;" Ann Rutledge, a researcher on Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth; Cal Collier, an author and speaker on the war in the Western Theater; Bart Rhett Talbert, author of "Maryland - The South's First Casualty;" Robert Trout, a.k.a. General J.E.B. Stuart; and Dan Toomey, an expert on Maryland during the War for Southern Independence. We have also had several fine music groups play at Gilmor Camp meetings including: Potomac Thunder and the Victorian Parlor Ensemble.

CONCLUSION:

The Colonel Harry W. Gilmor Camp #1388 has a long and proud history of service to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and dedication to honoring and remembering our Confederate ancestors. If you have a documented Confederate ancestor and live in the Baltimore area, please join with us to honor the great legacy the Confederate soldier and the Confederate Nation have left for all Americans.



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Copyright © 1999 Sons of Confederate Veterans
THE COL. H.W.GILMOR CAMP, No. 1388

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