From: “heather hair” [email@example.com]
Date: Jul 3, 2018
Dear Mr. Edgerton,
My name is Heather Rose Tholen. I had sent you a letter about 4 yrs ago pertaining to a history project pertaining the VMI Cadets. I felt like you would want a heads up and I am asking for prayers and wishing to extend the invitation to you to walk in a solemn procession with veterans and historians in Lexington Virginia. I am getting all the legalities studied out best I can. We hope to do the prayer march on Nov. 29th to remember the death of Capt. Frank Preston.
Please allow me to explain what prompted all this. When I was 14 yrs old and living in Alaska I found some original images of old soldiers and a string of old brass military buttons in a junk shop. They looked important in that cracked taped up old glass case. I memorized their faces from day 1. But there were no markings on them at all. I always assumed that they were Confederate Cavalry. 5 yrs ago I found out who all the 18 men were in the images. I found out that they were private prints never archived or circulated meant only for the men in these images.And they sadly document the illness and death of Capt. Preston as his body is laying in the train depot window. Now I have spent years studying these men and have shared my research with other historians and also descendants. All feel so far my research is on target and even Col. Gibson had said so when I went to see him in person at VMI. But before that for 2 years I endured a cold shoulder or strong ridicule from VMI but again there is no response from VMI.As well I am told by an archivist at a government museum that they were threatened with the loss of their jobs if they continued to participate in the cadet project. Who has the power to do that? I have studied with a forensics scientist who taught me to do facial mapping which only heaped evidence on the case for the dear cadets, also studied with uniform specialist, talked to doctors and cultural anthropologist.Antique jewelry specialist and military historians and descendants, which has well rounded my own education.
I would love at some point in the near future to be able to share this project with you. The TRUTH IS that all the Missouri professors I have talked to agree that my findings are correct about the identification of these men! All of us standing back confused and upset as to why the military school won’t accept their boys home again- we all thought they would be so happy to receive the historic images. I can understand them being skeptical but I don’t understand after all the professionals backing me that I continued to receive verbal abuse from the school. On the other hand when I did what they told me not to and I came onto the campus in person I was met very kindly with Col. Gibson, my assistant was with me and remembers him absolutely melting and spending much time with us and agreeing that my research was on target and equally I was an extraordinary women for seeing them and not giving up- I had been invited back to study in the archives so I had thought the cold shoulder affect was over but am sadly wrong, 3 emails and 2 phone calls were never returned so I am just leaving it alone..I know the school is facing great hardship over the Stonewall Jackson statue. I know Col. Gibson was sincere, I saw it in his eyes and manners, the school is torn in 2 it seems.
I had talked to descendants for years about doing a prayer march for the healing of our country from the rock site that the soldiers are camped at, all the way to Lexington. But sharing a meal at the old campsites and having prayer before we go- which all famous descendants expressed high interest. Over time veterans who have heard about my project expressed interest in wanting to participate.
Procession will be as follows
- cross bearer
- us and christian cross of st. andrew flags
- Lg banner of Confederate and Union veterans shaking hands- old photo
- 2 banners saying- no one left behind and, time is nothing
- Revolutionary war soldier locking arms with modern homeless veteran
- banner saying- lets bring our soldiers,pow and forefathers home again
- veterans carrying face images of refound VMI cadets
- candle bearers next to each face
- behind each face a quick board explaining their after war accomplishments to humanity
- Confederate and Union in uniform showing respect to cadets
- A brass band with black sashes around instruments who will only play when we approach Lexington playing “When Johhny Comes Marching Home and Dixie” for these old cadets
- after the brass band we need a WW1 Dough boy,WW2 folks in uniform in order all the way up to our young veterans.
My Cousin Cecil who is a Vietnam Vet talked about getting the Veteran Biker groups to usher in the solemn procession.
We would like our procession to end at the VMI campus but somehow I dont think they will allow it. So we may end up just in downtown Lexington. Or Capt. Franks grave site.
We are trying to not let this get out to the media as for fear that they will only twist it into what it is not- but I ask for your advise and prayers. Due to the current political situation I would advise our folks in the procession to wear bullet proof vest, even as we expect so many. We all will be peaceful and unarmed of coarse.
I have never put anything like this together so would appreciate any advice you may have. Would really like to share this research and images with you if you have time.
Really love listening to your talks on You Tube. Your talks really inspired me not to give up my research and to take heart and keep going.
God Bless and Keep You!
If you have any questions you may contact me anytime at this email or by phone at 417-230-2857
Heather Rose Tholen