Ben E. Caudill Camp #1629
Whitesburg, KY 41858
Welcome! My name is Richard Marion Smith and I currently serve as Caudill Camp Commander. My wife of twenty-six years, the former Libby Day, and I reside in Letcher County in an old log house my dad constructed on Rockhouse Creek, near Blackey, upon his return from WWII. I am a member of the Jeremiah Missionary Baptist Church and a retired high school art teacher. Part of my time is spent researching family and local Confederate history. I also have special interests in Kentucky’s Revolutionary War veterans, long hunters, and Cherokee history. Another portion of my time, and virtually all of my money, is spent on activities such as painting, blacksmithing, shooting, hand-loading, caring for my dogs, horse, and an old tomcat.
It is my hope that any skill I possess will enable me to better serve as Commander and will be enhanced by the immense pride I take in my direct lineage to six Confederate veterans, collateral kinship with dozens of additional Confederates, and the pride I take in the Caudill Camp. I am proud to be a charter member of this camp, owe an immense debt of gratitude to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for the increased awareness of my ancestors that I have been able to gain through them. So, I would like to encourage anyone who is a descendant of a Confederate soldier to join our camp; or, find another camp with whose members you feel comfortable, and “jine up”.
If asked to name goals I’d like to see the camp achieve during my time as Commander, my response would be: 1) to see the conditions that I think of as “love of the camp” and “unity among members” nurture each other, 2) to witness a continuation of the energy and research that has advanced the “stones set” total beyond the twelve hundred mark, 3) to have the camp continue to enjoy the wonderful community relations that have been fostered by the cooperative attitudes of our re-enactors and cannon crews in meeting the living history needs in the communities we serve, 4) to have the camp continue to enjoy the wonderful family relations that have been fostered by thoughtful interactions with the descendants of Confederate veterans by our researchers, stone setters, and stone dedication participants; 5) to realize that every member has become an effective recruiter, and 6) to have our three former commanders continue to share their experience and wisdom as reliable sources of guidance in all our endeavors.
Again, welcome to our site and feel free to contact me.
4676 Highway 7 South
Blackey, KY 41804
(606) 634-2413 (cell)
*If you are interested in becoming a member honoring your ancestors, please contact us at any of the addresses listed on our site. The Ben Caudill Camp # 1629 is open to any male descendent of a Confederate veteran. If you are unsure of having an ancestor, contact us and we will help you search. We also offer an Associate Membership
First Lieutenant Commander’s Welcome:
Greetings in the name of our ancestors, and welcome to our Website. Since early in 2008, I have served as First Lieutenant Commander of the Ben Caudill Camp. I am Manton Ray Cornett and my ancestors include some of the oldest names in eastern Kentucky: William Jesse Cornett the Revolutionary, Alexander Crockett Richie, Nicholas “Danger Nick” Combs, Stephen Miller Sr., and Reverend Richard Smith. My wife, Lorena Patrick, is a descendant of James Patrick the Revolutionary and his grandson, James Patrick, the Confederate soldier. My wife and I have two adult children; our son, Dr. Daryl Carter Cornett, is a Baptist minister who is currently serving as Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hazard, KY. Our daughter, Dr. Manetta Lynn LaVergne, is the Area Veterinarian for Pfizer Drug Company in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Several years ago, members of the Ben Caudill Camp created in me a curiosity which quickly grew into a fascination which then became an ongoing passion. Just a few short years ago, I knew nothing of my connection to the Confederate effort during the Great Struggle, and I assumed that what I had been led to believe was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In less than ten years, I learned that my ancestry includes nearly two hundred Confederate veterans, mostly from Perry, Letcher, and Knott Counties in Kentucky, and a few from Virginia and Tennessee. And, the discoveries seem to never end!
My great-great grandfather, Private William Buchanan “Buck” Engle, CSA, was the man whose service allowed me to enter the Ben Caudill Camp. Since becoming a camp member, I have discovered that another great-great grandfather, First Corporal John J. Godsey, served with “Buck” in Colonel Caudill’s Army. These men had brothers, and a host of other relatives, who served the Confederate cause.
Although my tenure with the Ben Caudill Camp has been relatively brief, I have been active in most of the Camp’s activities, including research, stone-setting, dedications and re-enacting. At re-enactments and dedications, I have served as Lieutenant of the Caudill Battery, and have enjoyed being behind the breech of “Little Jesse” at scores of reenactments and other events. A couple of years ago, I considered it a privilege to be a major contributor to the book, “Confederate Kin II”, a compilation of articles and stories about some of the Confederate relatives of some of our Camp members.
As First Lieutenant Commander, it is my responsibility to perform the duties of the Commander in his absence or at his request. Further, I serve as program chairman, securing guest speakers and presentations for camp functions. While doing my best to satisfy these duties, I also hope to assist any person who may wish to discover their family ties to the men who rode with Ben Caudill. I have a considerable amount of genealogical information on several of the pioneer families of eastern Kentucky, and it would be my pleasure to share it with you.
Please contact me if I can be of any service to you in your efforts to learn more about either your Confederate heritage or your family tree. Until then, I remain
Your Obedient Servant,
Manton Ray Cornett
83 Saint Kitts Avenue
Hazard, KY 41701
Phone (606) 378-2010
2nd LT Commander-Willis Strong,
From the Desk of Adjutant Brown
My name is Richard G. Brown and I am the Adjutant for the Colonel
Caudill Camp No. 1629 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I am also
officer of the 5th Kentucky Infantry re-enacting group. Some of my
responsibilities as adjutant are to maintain records and
affecting the camp, stay up to date on rules and regulations relating
camp, issue membership cards and certificates to members, be a liaison
between members and National Headquarters, help with the paper work of
members and keep members informed of upcoming events.
For new and old members, I would like to remind them that National
membership now runs from August 1 to August 1 of each year with a grace
period ending November 1. Membership cost $45.00 ($35.00 National
$10.00 of this is for a filing fee and certificate, and $10.00 State
Our camp does not charge membership dues. We raise money for our camp
through fundraisers. If an old member rejoins between August 1 and
1, he will not have to pay the $5.00 National signing fee. If he
after November 1, he will pay $45.00 instead of $40.00. If a new
joins before August 1, he should keep in mind that he would have to pay
rejoin in this grace period again. National Headquarters does not
I am very interested in seeing our camp continue to grow and would be
to help anyone that is interested in joining our organization. I have
of genealogy on families in Letcher County and will be glad to share
anyone. Remember, we do this to honor our ancestors that fought and
for a cause that they believed in. Please help us to insure that
generations do not forget the tribulations that our forefathers went
for so many years ago. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my
telephone number is 606-633-0457. Do not hesitate to contact me with
I Remain Your Obedient Servant,
Adjutant Richard G. Brown
P.O. Box 421
Ermine, Kentucky 41815
Hi! My name is Tabby Richard Back and I am the son of the late James (Jim) Back and the late Lona Adams Back. I have a wonderful son by the name of Christopher Richard Back. My wife's name is Rosetta Mullins Back. I entered entered the Ben Caudill Camp #1629 under Private William Cody Back, my great grandfather. I have been a jeweler for over thirty years. For the past six years I have owned my own jewelery store in Pound, Virginia. I am an artist and my favorite objects to paint are old school houses or barns. Most of my paintings are done in water color but I do a few in oil. In the 2005 camp election I was selected to be the Ben Caudill Camp Chaplain. My desire is that God will bless my in the coming year to do the best of my ability in honoring my Lord and also myancestors. Rose and Chris and I love participating in Civil War reenactments. I am a member of the 5th Kentucky Infantry, Company F along with my son. My lovely wife is very active with the Ladies Aid Society and accompanies me on all adventures. If I can be of service to you and tell you more of the love of Christ, please contact me. My email address is email@example.com. May you be blessed this day and know that God can do for you what you can not do for yourself