| First chartered in October of 1960 in conjunction with the national Civil War Centennial, the Camp had a glorious run, winning many state and national awards. Camp 1245 won Best Camp at the SCV National Convention three years in a row. The campís membership between 1961 and 1966 was well over 200, including several Congressmen, Representatives, Senators, and many other distinguished men of the South.
Many of the campís members were also part of Co. K 14th SC Vol. reenactors unit. Between 1961 and 1965 this unit took part in 75 reenactments, from Fort Sumter to Appomattox. Also sponsored by the camp were the Edisto Rifles, the 14th SC Nurseís Corps, and a Confederate Cadet Program.
Wheeler Camp sponsored the Battle of Rivers Bridge and the Battle of Aiken, with over 7,000 attending each battle. Fifty Southern Army reenactment units from 11 different states, with 11 Union army units from six states, made about 250 reenactors to recreate these historic events.
Men serving the camp in officerís roles during this time included Sen. Strom Thurmond as Judge Advocate and Col. John A. May as historian/editor. Commanders included Herman Boland, Claire Henkes, Robert Graham, and Wilbur E. Thompson. After the Centennial, the campís activity faded and the camp folded in the mid 1970ís.
In 1995, the rebirth of Camp 1245 was realized on March 13 in Aiken, consisting of 12 charter members with Jim Arnett as Commander and Wayne Cox as Adjutant. Others were Bryan Cox, Bob Holmes (Historian), Mark LeGrande (Quartermaster), Clarence Mabry (Color Sergeant), Tom Thomas (First Lieutenant), Ken Temples (Chaplain), Luckey Walker (Recruiter), Weyman Webb (Treasurer), and Larry and William Ricks.
In early 1996, the Wheeler Camp began to sponsor the Aiken County Confederate Memorial Day Service. The Aiken County Confederate Monument was unveiled on July 23, 1901 and there had not been another Confederate Memorial service since that time.
The Camp adopted three family cemeteries for restoration and stone placement. They were the Clark family cemetery in Vaucluse, SC, the Ergle family cemetery along the Edisto River, and the Sanders family cemetery near Monetta, SC. It was at this gravesite that the camp held a stone laying ceremony with about 80 family members attending. The 14th SC Company Volunteer reenactment unit helped with the colors and the salute. Pvt. William Sanders of Co. I, 6th SC Infantry was honored that day.
The Camp has one Guardian and one Guardian Pro-Tem. Wheeler Camp is involved in the Adopt-A-Park program. The Camp won a state award in 1999 for the Adopt-A-Highway program, when Camp 1245 was selected as the City of Aikenís outstanding Adopt-A-Parkway Volunteer Organization. The Camp has, since its charter in 1995, had representation during Aiken, Augusta, and Columbia Confederate Memorial Day services, and at every State and most National SCV Conventions.
Since 1995, Camp Commanders have included Jim Arnett, Tom Thomas, Weyman Webb, Ken Temples, Cliff Tennant, Winchester Smith, and Lee Duvall.
(This information graciously provided by Ken Temples, Adjutant and Past Commander.)
|A Brief History of the General Joseph Wheeler Camp #1245 of Aiken, South Carolina|