October Meeting Notice and Newsletter

October 19th, 2009 – Our 7th Meeting

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, October 19th, 2009, in the visitor’s center of Ft. Negley Park, a unit of Metro Parks, Nashville, TN. This is located off I-65 just south of downtown between 4th Avenue South and 8th Avenue South on Edgehill Avenue/Chestnut Avenue. Take Exit 81, Wedgewood Avenue, off I-65 and follow the signs to the Science Museum. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM and is always open to the public. Members please bring a friend or two – new recruits are always welcomed.


“Loyal Cavaliers: Tennessee’s Union Cavalrymen”

Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union in June, 1861. And while most of the state voted for that secession, pockets of pro-Union voters and supporters could be found, especially in East Tennessee. However, there were also Unionists in Middle and West Tennessee, and thousands of those men voted with their feet and left the state to form Tennessee Union regiments. Infantry, cavalry and artillery units were formed in Kentucky as well as those parts of the state where the Union Army had taken control. In the end, over 30 infantry and cavalry regiments were formed by Tennessee Unionists to fight for the “other side” of their state and this sometimes split families asunder.

Myers Brown, of the Tennessee State Museum, is the author of a recent book Tennessee’s Union Cavalrymen (Acadia Publishing, 2008) that tells the stories of these men via their images and text. It is certainly the largest collection of Union Tennessee cavalrymen images ever assembled and the book forms the basis of Mr. Brown’s program for the Nashville Civil War Roundtable’s October program. These men suffered trials and tribulations galore to fight for their cause. Mr. Brown will have copies of his book for sale at the meeting.

Myers Brown is Curator of History and Extension Services for the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. He has earned a B.A. degree from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and an M.A. in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University. He has been a curator at the Atlanta History Center and the Joseph Wheeler Home in Alabama. He serves as Governor and Secretary for the Company of Military Historians. He has been published in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly and the Atlanta Historical Quarterly as well as the Military Collectors & Historian journal among many others.

We hope you will join us for this special October meeting of the Nashville Civil War Roundtable at historic Ft. Negley. The Nashville Civil War Roundtable is made possible by Nashville Metro Parks and the Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Military History.


We were treated to a terrific program by Russ Bonds of Atlanta, the award winning author of Stealing The General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor. With full command of his topic and delivered with style and much humor, Mr. Bonds rewove one of the Civil War’s greatest stories, the topic of two feature films and several books over the years. The story of Andrew’s Raid, as it is also called, is one of hope for the Union side – the breaking of the critical railroad from Atlanta to Chattanooga by a group of soldiers disguised as civilians heading south to join the Confederate Army. Their plot started off very well and the locomotive, the General, was stolen right from under the eyes of the crew and a Confederate training camp! But things quickly went wrong for the crew began an unending chase that culminated with the raiders being captured north of Ringgold, Georgia. Some were hung as spies, including James Andrews, the leader. Some were sent to prison and escaped while others were exchanged later. Most of the survivors were the nation’s first recipients of the newly created Medal of Honor.

Mr. Bonds ended his fine program connecting the dots between the raiders and the then most recent American soldier who won a Medal of Honor in Iraq. A new recipient was announced a week later also for Iraq and also posthumously. This is not only a wonderful story but it is a great tale of valor and it has its finest story teller in Russ Bonds.

We cannot praise this program highly enough for other CWRTs and we look forward to having Russ back to see us in Nashville.

FUTURE PROGRAMS (please check our new web site for other events):
November, 2009 – Greg Biggs, author/historian – “The Atlanta Campaign, Part 1 – The Road to Kennesaw”
December, 2009 – Glenn LaFantasie, Western Kentucky University, author/historian – “The Military Rise of Gen. Grant”
January, 2010 – Thomas Cartwright, historian/author – “The Battle of Thompson’s Station”
February, 2010 – Kent Wright, Tennessee Valley CWRT, Huntsville, AL – “Naval Warfare on the Western Rivers”
March, 2010 – Thomas Flagel, historian and author – topic TBA
April, 2010 – Krista Castillo, Nashville CWRT – topic TBA
May, 2010 – Greg Biggs, author/historian – “The Atlanta Campaign, Part 2 – “The Chattahoochee River to Jonesboro”
June, 2010 – Jim Lewis, Stones River National Battlefield, “Cavalry Operations in the Stones River Campaign”
July, 2010 – Joseph Reinhart, Louisville CWRT and author – “Germans in the Civil War”
August, 2010 – TBA


As decided by the membership, the annual dues structure for the Nashville CWRT is as follows:

Single membership – $20
Family – $30
Military – Active duty and Veterans – $15
Military Family – Active duty and Veterans – $25
Student – $10
Senior (age 60 plus) – $15
Senior couple – $20

Thanks to all of you who have paid their dues. When your dues are paid your name badge will be available at the following meeting. Our dues go to paying for speakers as well as donations for Civil War preservation causes especially those of a local nature. Please be sure to pay your dues so we can offer the best programs possible for you!

We also utilize donated items for silent auctions each month to help add to the treasury. If you have something you would like to donate for these auctions, please bring them to the meetings. Books, art, or anything Civil War, works very well. Thanks very much to all of you who have made such donations!


Carnton Plantation in historic Franklin hosts John Bell Hood exhibit and offers Civil War Lectures
Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN, now has the new Fleming Center with expanded museum space, gift shop and other amenities. Currently ongoing in the museum is a special
exhibit of artifacts from Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, commander of the Army of Tennessee in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign of late 1864. Containing items from
descendants as well as the Museum of the Confederacy, the exhibit includes swords, his uniform frock coat, a saddle, documents, flags and more.
Carnton also has a series of Civil War lectures. The next two are:
October 26 – 6 pm: “If The Floors Could Talk” will feature Craig Moor, blood stain pattern expert.


Carnton will host a Hood panel discussion on Friday, November 6 at 6 p.m. in the event room of the Fleming Center. It is FREE to the public and will last about 1 ½ hours. Panelists will include Eric A. Jacobson (author, historian), Sam Hood (Hood expert, descendant), Sam Elliot (author, historian) and Brandon Beck (University of Mississippi).

The lectures are free to the public. For more information, hours, directions, etc. visit http://www.carnton.org. Further lectures are being planned along with their annual Battle of Franklin
celebrations and Christmas programs.
Historic Ft. Negley Offers Haunted Halloween Tours – October 30, 2009

Ft. Negley, a unit of Nashville’s Metro Parks, offers a Civil War haunted history tour on Friday, October 30th at 7 PM. Meet with period reenactors offering tales of Civil War ghosts of the area as you tour historic Ft. Negley. This free event for the whole family is open to the public but reservations are required.

Please RSVP to Ft. Negley’s visitors center by calling (615)862-8470 and be prepared for a ghostly grand time!

Battle of Nashville Preservation Society Civil War Seminar at Ft.Negley

The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society’s Civil War conference is slated for Nashville’s historic Ft. Negley Park. This educational event will be held on Saturday, November 21st, 2009 and it runs from 8:30 AM through 4:30 PM. Included in the conference is a tour and lunch and the fee is only $40 (before November 1st) and $45 thereafter. Seating is limited and it is first come, first in. The speakers include:

Sarah Boyd – noted Williamson County, TN history teacher – The Roots of the Civil War: How Our Forefathers Passed the Buck

Carole S. Boyd – history professor at Volunteer State Community College – Storm Clouds On The Horizon: Nashville In The Decade Before the Civil War

Myers Brown – History and Extension Services Curator, Tennessee State Museum – Spies, Scouts and Guerrillas: Irregular Warfare in Middle Tennessee

Krista Castillo – Museum Coordinator, Ft. Negley Park/Nashville CWRT – Finding Peace: Reconstructing Middle Tennessee

Thomas Flagel – history professor, Columbia State Community College – Appomattox: The Place of Lee’s Surrender and a National Resurrection

John Allyn – Battle of Nashville Preservation Society/Nashville City Cemetery Association – The Nashville City Cemetery (and tour guide for the tour there)

The symposium is sponsored by the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society and Nashville Metro Parks.

Make your check payable to BONPS and send to BONPS, c/o Ft. Negley Visitors Center, 1100 Ft. Negley Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203. Remember seating is limited and the fee includes lunch and the tour. If you want a vegetarian lunch please make that known.

New Civil War battlefield visitors centers open in Virginia (From Susan Claffey, District of Columbia CWRT)

New Five Forks Visitor Center: A new visitor center opened Oct. 3 at Five Forks, Virginia describing the April 1, 1865, battle that turned Robert E. Lee’s flank at Petersburg (VA). Confederate Gen. George Pickett’s troops were crushed by a massive Union attack which lead to an even larger assault the next day along Hatcher’s Run. The center is located near the old NPS contact station at the actual Five Forks intersection, southwest of Petersburg. For directions and further information visit: http://www.nps.gov/pete/index.htm. Site manager is former Petersburg NPS historian Chris Calkins, a noted authority on the Petersburg area battles.

New Shenandoah Visitor Center: The latest Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District orientation center has opened in the Harrisonburg (VA) visitor center at the historic Hardesty-Higgins House. This center focuses on Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign including the Cross Keys and Port Republic battlefields and the story of the burning of area farm buildings and homes in 1864. The center is open 9 am-5 pm daily and is free. The other Valley battlefield centers are located in Winchester and McDowell. For more information please visit – ShenandoahAtWar.org

Kentucky Institutes Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear came to the Richmond, Kentucky, battlefield on Wednesday, September 2, and signed an executive order creating the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and announced a $1 million grant to fund it. The year 2011 will mark the 150th anniversary of the war’s outbreak, and the commission will recommend events to commemorate the observance.

Members of the 25 member commission will be appointed by November 1, and should conduct its first meeting in March 2010, according to a news release from the governor’s office. “This will be a four year commemoration and not a celebration,” Beshear said. “We don’t want to glorify war. We want to remember the Kentuckians who fought and died in the conflict, the suffering of its people and the changes brought by the war, especially the freedom of African-American slaves.”

While the conflict threatened to split the nation in two, “In no other state were the people more divided that Kentucky,” the governor said. Of the 150,000 Kentuckians who fought in the war, more than twice as many fought for the Union as for the Confederacy. The division was dramatically symbolized, Beshear said, by two Kentuckians—Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis—who served, respectfully, as presidents of the Union and Confederate governments. Beshear noted that statues of opposing leaders stand the rotunda of the state capitol in Frankfort.
Beshear also presented Madison County Judge/Executive Kent Clark with an oversized check for $440,000, with will be used to enhance the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky’s, Battlefield Park, namely the Pleasant View House, which dates to 1824 and served as a hospital during the Battle of Richmond. Both grants came from transportation enhancement funds.

Fredericksburg, VA battlefield preservation DVD for sale to raise funds (From Scott Eyestone, Fredericksburg, VA CWRT)

Please consider this an open invitation to the Nashville and Clarksville Roundtable memberships to come visit us. You can set up a “base camp” in any of our excellent Fredericskburg lodging options and enjoy the fields at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Courthouse. Our National Park Service unit here is terrific; the most friendly, well-informed, dedicated, and underpaid Rangers in the Service. OK, we’re a little biased. But we recommend coordinating with them if you are planning a visit. Private guides such as Hallowed Ground Tours are also available and do “custom” tours per visitors’ wishes.

We’re also working hard on battlefield preservation. Urban sprawl is threatening our hallowed grounds but we’re holding back the onslaught through coordinated efforts. We have been grateful for bi-partisan support from our Virginia state delegates and especially the current Governor. It looks like we may have lost the WalMart at The Wilderness battle, but we’ve been winning on other fronts. Our Central Virgina Battlefields Trust and the national Civil War Preservation Trust has been doing heroic work with acquisition. Please see http://www.cvbt.org/ for a recent great save in the heart of the Wilderness battlefield.

Of course the acquired dirt and grass needs to be paid for. Toward that end, a partnership of the Fredericksburg CW Round Table and Central Virginia Battlefields Trust produced and are about to begin distribution of a video product named Civil War Fredericksburg: Then & Now. Please see http://www.cvbt.org/CVBT_FCWRT_DVD.html for a trailer and information. The web site explains the various segments that make up the 2-hour content of the “docu-tainment” video disc. The Educator’s Version of the product has a resource disc designed to facilitate any presentation about the Civil War in Fredericksburg, Va. If anyone in the Clarksville or Nashville clubs would like to order either edition, there is a link from the information page to the online order page.

(Editor’s note – your editors know quite a few of the fine staff at these battlefields and they are terrific! Fredericksburg, VA is also one of their favorite towns – a lot like Franklin in Tennessee in fact! Do visit when you can and support their preservation efforts!)

Chickamauga, Georgia, Names Road to Honor Union Troops (From the Civil War Preservation Trust newsletter)

Highway 341 in Chickamauga is now the U.S. Army of the Cumberland Highway after an official naming ceremony earlier this month. Chickamauga City Manager and Georgia Civil War Commission Chairman John Culpepper said the highway traces the route Union forces took to the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. “Most people don’t key in to all of the paths and the mountains the men had to march over,” he said. “They were everywhere.”

The new designation applies to a section of the highway from its intersection with Highway 193 northward to its intersection with Gordon Street downtown. Mr. Culpepper said naming this street, along with other designations across North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee, can help give people a better idea of the troop movements. “This is telling the whole story of the whole campaign in all of these counties,” he said.

Richard Barclift, Chickamauga tourism director, said having the route named in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in 2011 could help draw tourists. “The 150th is going to be the major celeb throughout the country,” he said. “For us, (naming the highway) may not be that big of a deal, but for descendants of the veterans who fought in the battle from Indiana and Ohio, I think it’s a pretty big deal.” Mr. Culpepper said the route’s designation could bring a few visitors south from Chickamauga National Battlefield. “We want to be part of their battlefield experience,” he said.

Next, Mr. Culpepper said he wants to get a section of U.S. Highway 27 renamed CSA Army of Tennessee Highway because the Confederate army used a similar route to where the highway lies. Like Highway 341, the road’s name change would have to be voted on by the Legislature. He said the more historic routes that can honor an area’s history, the better.

“It all has connections,” he said. “It all brings history back to life.”


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