Georgia Civil War Commission
Quarterly Meeting Minutes
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Chairman John Culpepper called the meeting to order at 1:07 on March 23, 2019 at Kennesaw State Continuing Education Center, Kennesaw, Georgia. Commissioners present were John Culpepper, Karen Ledford, Brain Wills, Curt Collier, Inger Eberhart, Ken Griffiths, Hank Segars, and James Yancey. Commissioner Kelly Barrow joined the meeting via conference call. Commissioner not present were John Carroll. Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff, was present. Members of the audience consisted of Kenneth Ledford, Mike Dodd, Warren Allen, and Brad Quinlin.

Chairman Culpepper told the audience who we are and our mission. He then went on to state that he sent an announcement of the meeting to the Marietta Daily Journal on March 19, 2019 to publish in the notices, as well as the announcement was posted on social media and at the location in compliance with the Sunshine Law.

A quorum was established by Chairman Culpepper, allowing for the meeting to be considered legal.

Commissioner Collier opened the meeting in prayer. Pledges were omitted this meeting because flags were not present.  

Chairman Culpepper requested for each of the Commissioners present to introduce themselves. Following this, Chairman Culpepper welcomed the audience and requested they introduce themselves and the group he/she was representing.

Chairman Culpepper requested a motion to approve the agenda. Commissioner Collier made the motion to approve the agenda as printed and Commissioner Wills seconded; motion carried. Agenda is attached to the minutes.

Chairman Culpepper reminded everyone the minutes from the December Quarterly Meeting were emailed to each Commissioner for review prior to this meeting. Clerical changes were sent to Chief of Staff Barrow and made prior to the meeting. Commissioner Collier made a motion to accept the minutes with clerical errors corrected; Commissioner Wills seconded. Motion passed.

The 2018-19 financial report was read by Chief of Staff Barrow. Chairman Culpepper explained that the Commission only has $25,000 for the fiscal year. Treasurer report is attached to the minutes. Commissioner Collier made a motion to accept the report, Commissioner Eberhart seconded, and motion carried.  

At this time, Chairman Culpepper asked if anyone in the audience had anything they would like to bring before the Commission that was not on the agenda. Brad Quinlin gave an update on the research he was doing for African Americans who served under Sherman. There are 258 of these soldiers buried in Marietta National Cemetery. Many were cooks and stretcher bearers. Mr. Quinlin is working with Gary Casteel to create a monument depicting a scene of a stretcher bearer to be placed outside the Marietta National Cemetery at a Cobb County Library property. Mr. Quinlin is also working to create a 2-minute audio about each man that he can identify. This will be used in schools and museums to help educate people about these soldiers. A 501-C-3 has been established to raise the nearly $200,000 needed for the projects. The Commission encouraged him to complete a request so that the Commission can help. Mr. Quinlin gave the Commission an updated thumb drive with his research materials.

At this time, Commissioner Barrow joined the meeting via conference call.

Under Old Business: Chairman Culpepper recognized Chief of Staff Barrow to bring the Commission current on the various educational projects. Chief of Staff Barrow informed the Commissioners that a table was not set up at the Epic Homeschool Expo as planned. Somehow the planners of this event did not reserve a table for the Commission, claiming a deadline issue even though the deadline had been extended for the Commission.

Chief of Staff Barrow announced that the Confederate Constitution will be on display on Saturday, July 6, 2019 from 9-5 in the Hargrett Library Gallery in Athens as part of a one-day exhibit entitled, “Hargrett from the Vault.

Continuing with the Education Report, Chief of Staff Barrow stated she had reserved tables at both the Southeastern Homeschool Expo in July and the Georgia Council of Social Studies in October. As in the past, pencils, calendars, “Georgia’s Confederate Counties”, and essay booklets will be handed out at these venues. Crossroads of Conflict and Maps of Georgia during the Civil War will be used as door prizes.

A field trip reimbursement had been received and sent to the Education Committee. The request from North Henry Academy in Stockbridge was for $250 for 30 students to go to Andersonville National Park. There was no budget or details as to where the money would be spent.  It was discussed that since this was a reimbursement, the Commission should approve the request pending all required receipts and items were received. Commissioner Wills made the motion to approve this field trip reimbursement request up to $250 and Commissioner Eberhart seconded it. Motion carried.

As part of the education report, Commissioner Wills reported that the educational symposium that morning was a success and thanked the Commission for their continued support.

Chef of Staff then moved to the two contests that the Commission sponsored. The art contest had a tie in the 6th-8th grade category. After much discussion, it was decided that this year the tie would be accepted; however, rules to determine ties in the future would be developed by the Education Committee and presented to the Commissioners. The winners are as follows: Kindergarten-2nd, 1st Caleb Rickerson, 2nd Sara Denton, 3rd Brycen Fleming; 3rd-5th 1st Korin Browne, 2nd Samyak Chatterjee, 3rd Mitchell Burton; 6th-8th 1st Nadia Cerda, 2nd Shelby Gwinn, 3rd (tie) Zoe Schikel and Will Parker; 9th-12th 1st Destiny Armstrong, 2nd Graham Spires, 3rd Lydia Pruett. Commissioner Collier made a motion to accept the winners, including the tie, and Commissioner Wills seconded. Motion passed.

A motion was made by Commissioner Griffiths that no photography would be allowed in 2020 art contest and subsequent years, but that a photography contest be created by the Commission. Commissioner Ledford seconded the motion that carried.

After much discussion, a motion was made by Segars and seconded by Commissioner Wills to have the 2020 Art Contest topic be Naval Action Along the Georgia Coast. This motion passed.

Next was the Essay Contest, which also had a tie. Grades 5th-6th 1st place Nadia Cerdas, 2nd place (tie) Shelby Gwinn, Andrew Fleming, and Naomi Thompson; grades 7th-8th 1st Samuel Klemm; grades 9th-12th 1st Ashly Klemm, 2nd David Osborne, 3rd David King. Commissioner Griffiths made the motion to accept this slate of winners, even with the tie, and Commissioner Ledford seconded the motion. It was noted that again rules needed to be developed to break ties in the future. Motion carried.

Chief of Staff Barrow stated that many of the parents and teachers had thanked her for the Commission sponsoring these contests because the students learned so much from researching. However, the topic about the mill workers had limited information in the local libraries, even though there are numerous books on the topic. This caused the parents and teachers to request that the 2020 topic have more accessible information. After considering many topics, Commissioner Segars made a motion that was seconded by Commissioner Collier to have the 2020 essay topic be Milledgeville, the Wartime Capital.

Since it was noted that most libraries are lacking information on the Roswell and New Manchester Mills deportment, Mary Deborah Petite’s book “The Women will Howel” and Michael Hitt’s book would be bought and given to local libraries in honor of the 8 winning essays. This would allow the winners to be recognized again, as well as allow Georgia history to be present in library systems in Georgia. The motion was made by Commissioner Griffiths, seconded by Commissioner Ledford, and passed.

The final topic for the education report is that the winners of the art and essay contest tentatively were going to receive awards and recognition at the July Collector’s Showcase event at Kennesaw State University; however, Chief of Staff Barrow pointed out that this would put the award monies being placed in the next fiscal year budget. The winners are announced the first week in April and did the Commission want the winners to wait until July 20, 2019 to receive their awards? Much discussion, but it was finally decided that an awards ceremony would be at the next Quarterly Meeting. If the winner is unable to attend, Chief of Staff Barrow will mail the award to the recipient after the meeting. Commissioner Griffiths made this in the form of a motion that Commissioners Segars seconded. Motion carried.

Chairman Culpepper recognized the PR Committee chair Commissioner Segars, who discussed what was the best way to communicate with the public in this age of technology. Social media, newsletters, website, and other venues were discussed. A calendar added to the website may be an idea, but more investigation would be required.

Next on the Agenda, Chairman Culpepper stated the Commission still only had 10 members, with 5 vacancies and 3 current members are up for reappointment. Commissioner Collier and Chief of Staff Barrow met with the Governor’s Appointment Secretary Lisa Durden at the Capital to present the names of three potential Commissioners since the Governor had 3 vacant appointments. Mrs. Durden stated that it would be after the Session ended before any appointments would be handled even though it was stressed that the vacancies made it difficult to achieve a quorum. It was requested that Chief of Staff Barrow and Commissioner Collier follow up as they saw fit after April 3 but before the next meeting.

Chairman Culpepper asked Chief of Staff Barrow to give a report on the website issues and what she had learned since the December Quarterly Meeting. Thomas Harris accepted the position to provide website updates and maintenance. During the last part of December, as requested by the Commission, he updated and worked out most of the kinks in the website. To date, he was paid $225 for December and $97.50 for Jan and February combined. Mr. Harris was able to work with JerMar and reset passwords and work around the glitches that the site seems to have, including downloading the pictures of the Commissioners. Mr. Harris determined that the Commission was still paying for BlueHost website, which was one of the problems when the website went down last year. Mr. Harris cancelled the website part of BlueHost and retained only the hosting contract, which saved the Commission a considerable amount of money. He placed the Chief of Staff as the main contact person for BlueHost, which again had been an issue in the past. Chief of Staff Barrow is working closely with Mr. Harris to determine what the next step is to continue to make the website a viable source for the public. Discussion about placing a Calendar of Events on the website happened but was tabled until more information could be obtained. Chairman Culpepper created the Website Committee of Commissioner Eberhart (Chair), Commissioner Wills, and Commissioner Segars, with Chief of Staff Barrow serving as a liaison between the committee and Mr. Harris. Chairman Culpepper asked for them to give the Commission long and short-term goals pertaining to the website.

The next agenda item, Confederate Veterans Home interpretive sign, Chairman Culpepper asked Commissioner Barrow to report from the committee. Since the committee had not had any sort of communication since the last meeting, there was nothing to report.

Agenda item #20 Confederate History Month was next so that Commissioner Barrow could be excused from the conference call. Commissioner Barrow shared that he had written the 2019 Confederate History Month Proclamation as requested by Chairman Culpepper. This year’s proclamation focused on the Nancy Hart Rifles from LaGrange, GA. The proposed proclamation was read by Chairman Culpepper. A motion was made by Commissioner Collier and seconded by Commissioner Eberhart to submit the proclamation the Governor’s office. Motion carried.

Commissioner Barrow excused himself from the meeting at this time.

Going back to New Business, item # 16 Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic marker dedication, Chairman Culpepper shared the invitation that this group sent him with the other Commissioners. Chairman Culpepper encouraged Commissioners to attend the dedication on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at Andersonville National Cemetery. He reminded the Commissioners that he had sent a letter on behalf of the Commission in support of this marker being returned. It was mentioned that the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic should seek reimbursement funding for some of this project and Chief of Staff Barrow was asked to send them an email. Invitation is attached to the minutes.

It was requested that the Commission take a short recess. Before the meeting reconvened, Commissioner Yancey left due to a family issue. Commissioner Barrow was contacted and placed back on conference call so that a quorum was still available.

After the break, Chairman Culpepper stated he had received a request to bring greeting to the Daughters of the Union Veterans National Convention on July 20, 2019 at 9:00 AM. He is unable to attend, and Chief of Staff Barrow was asked to go in his stead. Invite attached to the minutes.

Senate Bill 77, which was authored and submitted by Senator Jeff Mullis, who has openly supported the Commission, protects all monuments and markers, as well as cemeteries from vandals. Commissioner Segars made a motion that the Commission to support this bill and Commissioner Griffiths seconded. The bill is scheduled to go to the House soon and Chief of Staff Barrow was asked to send a letter to the members of the House to support this important piece of legislation.

Chairman Culpepper read a letter he sent on behalf of the Commission to support the preservation of Camp Letterman General Hospital in Gettysburg. The letter is attached to the minutes.

Agenda Item # 21, Crossroads of Conflict, Chief of Staff Barrow stated that the remaining Crossroads of Conflict, less than 300, could be purchased by the Commission for $18.75, which is 40% off retail price. Chairman Culpepper reminded the Commissioners that once these books are bought, Crossroads of Conflict will not be printed again. Commissioner Collier made a motion to purchase the remaining Crossroads of Conflict from UGA Press, not to exceed 300 copies. Commissioner Wills seconded the motion that carried.

Commissioners were reminded that since the closing of Nash Farm Battlefield Museum, which is where items and paperwork belonging to the Commission was stored and Chief of Staff Barrow had an office, Chief of Staff Barrow has been keeping these items inside her home. After searching, Chief of Staff Barrow located a business that would allow the Commission to rent an office. Dutton Cavanaugh P.C. has agreed to $300 per month for the office, which includes all utilities. The written lease was sent to the Commissioners for review. Commissioner Griffiths requested if the business could sublease, which Chief of Staff Barrow was certain they could but would verify. Commissioner Ledford made a motion that Chief of Staff Barrow have permission to sign on behalf of the Commission the Lease Agreement with Dutton Cavanugh P.C., pending proof that subleasing is allowed. Commissioner Griffiths seconded the motion which passed.

For the final agenda item, Chairman Culpepper stated that BATL had sent the required written financials and project update; therefore, adhering to the Commissions stipulations for BATL to keep the funds previously given.

At the end of the meeting, each Commissioner may bring something before the Commission. Commissioner Wills reminded the Commissioners that the bus tour of Chickamauga is May 11, 2019 and the Collector’s Showcase is July 20, 2019. Commissioner Ledford invited Commissioners to attend the General James Longstreet United Daughters of the Confederacy Confederate Memorial Day service on April 28, 2019 where Commissioner Wills is the key-note speaker.

The next Quarterly Meeting was tentatively scheduled for May 4, 2019 at 11AM with a reception at the Griffin Spalding Library. Chief of Staff Barrow would contact the venue and make sure it was available. Commissioner Collier made the motion to adjourn and Commissioner Griffiths seconded. Meeting ended at 3:48.

Respectfully submitted by Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff