Buddy Ellis is a member of the local Col. W.P. Rogers Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is also the Second Brigade commander for the state SCV division.
Ellis was honored for his role in spreading the word and raising money for the Mississippi monument during the Mississippi SCV’s annual meeting in Jackson. Ellis received the J.Z. George Preservation Award for his hard work on the project and received a certificate from the outgoing commander of the Mississippi Division for his “faithful dedication to duty and service” to the commander.
He was also honored with a standing ovation from the assembled SCV members.
So far, Ellis has helped raise approximately $175,000 for the project. Added to a $250,000 pledge from the Mississippi legislature, this puts Ellis and the SCV in the neighborhood of the projected $450,000 to $500,000 cost of the monument.
“We’re getting pretty close,” said Ellis. “We need more donations, but we’re close.”
Right now they are working with the National Park Service, learning all of the rules and regulations in regard to placing a monument on the battlefield. The next step — after finding out what is acceptable to the Park Service — will be to plan the actual monument with a designer.
If they end up raising money in excess of the monument cost, the funds will be put into an account for the monument’s upkeep, Ellis said.
Ellis and members of the Col. W.P. Rogers camp plan to host a fish fry at the upcoming national SCV convention later this month in Vicksburg. Other camps are working on projects as well.
The planned monument will be placed near Rhea Springs on the battlefield, the site of some of the heaviest fighting for Mississippi troops during the battle.
The projected completion date for the project is sometime in 2015, although it could be earlier, Ellis said.
The project is nothing new for Mississippi’s SCV members. There was much talk of a Mississippi monument for years, but not much else.
“Three or four years ago a lot of people said it will never happen, we’ll never get the money,” Ellis recalled. “Some worked for a while and quit. Gave up.”
But giving up never entered into Ellis’ mind.
“I ain’t giving up till it’s done,” he vowed.
Now he’s seeing the light at the end of the tunnel — a monument for the son’s of Mississippi who fought, bled and died in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
“It’s very long overdue,” said Ellis. “I’m looking forward to the day we get it. And glad the end is in sight.”
(To learn more or contribute to the Mississippi monument fundraising effort contact SCV Mississippi Division Second Brigade Commander Buddy Ellis at 662-286-6779 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)