January Meeting and Newsletter

Nashville Civil War Roundtable

Founded April, 2009 – Nashville, Tennessee


January 18th, 2010 – Our 10th Meeting

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, January 18th, 2010, 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.

What decade is this really? Many people think 2010 is the start of the second decade of the 21st Century but it is not. Centuries and decades always start with the odd numbered year. The 20th Century ended in 2000 (hence the “20th” part while the rest of the years had a “19” in front) and the 21st Century, and its first decade, both started on January 1st, 2001. The century ends December 31st, 2100. So we have to wait until 2011 for the second decade to begin. For more information see the web site of the U.S. Naval Observatory, the official time keepers of the United States.



In the aftermath of the Battle of Stones River, the Union Army of the Cumberland and Confederate Army of Tennessee went into winter quarters at Murfreesboro and Tullahoma, TN respectively, to prepare for the coming spring campaign. However, winter was not a complete time of rest for either side, in particular for the cavalry. The Union cavalry was rebuilding under new leadership and to test themselves they went after Confederate General Braxton’ Bragg’s right flank east of Murfreesboro held by Gen. John Hunt Morgan. The Confederate cavalry in the West, meanwhile, had been built to its greatest strength of the war; some 16,000 veteran troopers under Generals Joe Wheeler, John Hunt Morgan, Van Dorn, Forrest and William Hicks Jackson. All of them would see a lot of action, especially under Van Dorn, Jackson and Forrest, who would hurl themselves at Federal outposts on Bragg’s left flank. One of these outposts was at Thompson’s Station not too far south of Franklin, TN.

A brigade of Union troops under Col. John Coburn headed south from Franklin towards Columbia on a raid and foraging expedition for food and animal fodder. While heading south he collided with Confederate cavalry under corps commander Earl Van Dorn and two divisions lead by William Jackson and Forrest near Thompson’s Station on the Nashville & Decatur Railroad. Initially repulsing Jackson’s dismounted assault, it was when Forrest gained Coburn’s rear taking his wagons that Coburn found himself in deep trouble. He would end up surrendering his entire brigade of some 1500 men.

Noted historian Thomas Cartwright, well known to all of us in Tennessee, will inform us of the events of this battle and some of the lesser known incidents involved including the participation of two 17 year olds, Willie Forrest, the general’s son and Annie Thompson, who lived in Homestead Manor literally on the battlefield, as well as Forrest’s horse Roderick. Cartwright is currently writing a book on this famous raid which ended up driving a wedge between Van Dorn and Forrest. He will also inform us of current preservation plans for the battlefield.

Thomas Cartwright is the former director of the Carter House Historic Site in Franklin, TN. He has been involved with Civil War television shows like Civil War Journal, and has spoken to dozens of Civil War groups across the country. A gifted storyteller, Cartwright is currently leading tours for the Lotz House Museum in Franklin as well as with noted historian David Hinze of Missouri. Thomas will have copies of his new CD entitled, The Battle Of Franklin: A Driving Tour, for sale at our meeting.


John Walsh of Ft. Donelson Relics (Dover, TN) and the Clarksville CWRT presented a fine program on Civil War artillery. John’s program included video as well as a great PowerPoint presentation. Even if you weren’t an artillery fan prior to this talk, you probably were afterwards for we certainly learned a lot about the big guns of the war. John detailed many of the types of guns used as well as types of ammunition. John is known for detailed and informative talks and this one was no exception. If you were unfortunate enough to miss this talk, perhaps you’ll catch it again soon as we feel that John will be in great demand with quality talks such as this one.

FUTURE PROGRAMS (please check our new web site for other events):

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 1 – The Road To Kennesaw”
June, 2010 – Jim Lewis, Stones River National Battlefield, “Cavalry Operations in the Stones River Campaign”
July, 2010 – Joseph Reinhart, Louisville CWRT and author – “McCook’s Dutchmen: The 9th Ohio Infantry”
August, 2010 – Tom Parsons, Corinth National Battlefield – “The Battles For Corinth”
September 2010 – Greg Biggs, author/historian – “The Atlanta Campaign, Part 2 – The Chattahoochee To Jonesboro”
October 2010 – Gail Stephens, author/historian, Baltimore, MD. – “Gen. Lew Wallace” (Based on her upcoming biography)
November, 2010 – Dr. William Glenn Robertson, US Army Combat Studies Institute, Ft. Leavenworth, KS – “A Tale Of Two Orders in the Battle of Chickamauga”
December, 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!


Date set for the annual “Legacy of Stones River” conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

“The Legacy of Stones River: Why They Fought” symposium will take place on Saturday, March 20, 2010, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Murfreesboro, TN. The program features programs by Keith Bohannon, Sam Davis Elliott, and Kenneth Noe at the historic Rutherford County Courthouse in the morning, followed by park ranger-led programs at Stones River National Battlefield in the afternoon. The courthouse is in downtown Murfreesboro. The fee for the day is only $10 and the event is sponsored by Stones River National Battlefield and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area

Bohannon of the University of West Georgia, has written extensively about the war, including essays on John Bell Hood and the Battle of Chickamauga. Elliott, an attorney in Chattanooga, is the author of the forthcoming Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator as well as the biography of Tennessee CS General Alexander P. Stewart. Noe is the Draughon Professor of Southern History at Auburn University and has authored books on Perryville and other topics. His latest book, Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army After 1861, will be published this year.

The $10 registration fee includes continental breakfast. Call 615-893-9501 or visit http://www.nps.gov/stri or http://www.tncivilwar.org to download a registration brochure. When you are on the TCWNA’s website be sure to click on the “Calendar of Events” button for other great programs that are coming up over the winter and into spring.

Ft. Negley Civil War Site in Nashville to Remain Open But With Reduced Hours – A Note From the Museum Specialist Krista Castillo – THANK YOU!!!

The news came to me as a complete shock in the last week of October. Although I knew that Nashville Metro Parks faced a budget crisis, I never expected to learn from an article in The Tennessean that my job was on the chopping block. In a closed-door meeting, Metro Parks director Roy Wilson and the Board voted unanimously to eliminate seven full-time positions in an effort to stabilize a $1 Million budget deficit. The plan primarily affected the Ft. Negley Visitors Center and four nature centers already understaffed. The nature centers faced closures and reduced hours while Ft. Negley would lose the Museum Specialist, its only employee. The article went on to state that Ft. Negley would operate with limited hours using an employee transferred from the Parthenon, a Metro Parks art museum.

As Ft. Negley’s only employee for nearly a year, I naturally felt betrayed, unappreciated and disposable. I struggled with the reality that Metro Parks had failed to notice Ft. Negley’s value and potential and, on a more personal level, my own sweat and tears. I feared the months of creating public programming, building Ft. Negley’s reputation and forming relationships with others in the Civil War community would be lost. Fortunately, supporters lead by Greg Biggs, Clarksville CWRT president and Nashville CWRT Program Chair, sprang into action. Letters and emails flooded Mayor Karl Dean’s office from across the country and local supporters packed the tight corridor outside Parks Board meetings. Their efforts paid off; within weeks, Metro Parks abandoned their plan and began exploring other options. The budget plan adopted in November, unfortunately, included layoffs and cutbacks. On January 5, Ft. Negley began reduced hours of operation. On December 31, Roy Wilson, under public scrutiny, left his post.

I cannot thank everyone enough for their efforts which ultimately averted Ft. Negley’s demise, solidified the importance of preserving Civil War heritage and saved me from heartbreak. Although Metro parks faces a long and difficult struggle, I am confident that friends and supporters will not allow Ft. Negley to fade once more into obscurity. Our hours are now: Tuesday-Friday, Noon to 4 PM; Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM. For appointments please call (615)862-8470. Ft. Negley Park is open daily from Dawn to Dusk for self-guided walking tours.

Thanks to all CWRT members from across the country that took a few minutes to send those emails. This shows what the national Civil War Roundtable movement can do! Well done and thanks for helping this great site and a very dedicated employee! – Greg Biggs

New Battle Of Franklin Driving Tour CD Available

Speaking of Thomas Cartwright, he has a new CD out entitled The Battle Of Franklin: A Driving Tour. The basis of the CD is an audio tour of the Battle of Franklin that you play in your car while driving to the 26 stops outlined therein. Cartwright offers a narraration of the battle and then directs you while on the tour to each site and explains the events there. It’s almost like having him on tour with you! And we all know how well Thomas knows this battle!

This tour CD is available by contacting the Lotz House Museum in Franklin, Tennessee. The cost is $24.95 with a bit extra for shipping. Discounts are available for quantity purchases. You can pick it up the next time you are in Franklin (the Lotz House is right across the street from the Carter House) or contact them about getting it by mail. Visit their website at http://www.thelotzhouse.com or send them an email at: info@lotzhouse.com.

Historian: Paducah Site Could Yield Civil War Relics (From the CWPT newsletter/Louisville KY Courier-Journal) 12/20/2009

A Western Kentucky historian is calling for the site of a defunct hotel to be excavated and searched for any relics from a Civil War battle. Human remains and artifacts from the Battle of Paducah, which was fought in 1864 at the site of Fort Anderson, could be buried where the Executive Inn once stood in Paducah, said Murray State University professor Ken Carstens. The Paducah Sun reported that 20th-century industrial development and the 1980s construction of the hotel and convention center disturbed some battlefield areas. Carstens said there could still be significant artifacts. He also said some areas of the fort have not been disturbed. “We all realize the importance of developing a new hotel and want that to happen,” he said. “My point is historic preservation.”

The hotel initially closed in April 2008 and operated sporadically thereafter. It shut down for the last time in June after the electricity was turned off. The hotel is also at the center of a $3.5million lawsuit over a loan. The city plans to complete the purchase of the closed hotel this week and wants to have the building torn down next year. Authorities say they will solicit proposals from private developers for a new hotel. City Manager Jim Zumwalt said he’s aware of the federal requirement to survey sites that may have archaeological significance. An archaeologist will be hired to conduct the required study, he said. Zumwalt said the historic significance could be incorporated into later plans, such as having public recognition of the fort and archaeological findings.

Carstens said the Battle of Paducah included members of the 8th and 13th Kentucky Colored Heavy Artillery Unit. He wants any archaeological work completed before the hotel is demolished.

“General” Historic Site in Line For Makeover (CWPT newsletter/Chattanooga TN Times Free Press) 12/22/2009

The Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to help Catoosa County commissioners spend a $2,500 grant awarded to the county in 2007. The state grant can be spent only for improvements to the site where The General locomotive was abandoned at the end of the Great Locomotive Chase in 1862. The money has been sitting in an account since it was awarded as officials tried to determine how it might best be used. Members of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp brought up the issue at a recent County Commission meeting.

In 1862, a group of Union soldiers and a Union spy stole a locomotive, The General, in what is now Kennesaw, Ga., and drove the train toward Chattanooga while trying to burn bridges and cut telegraph wires along the way. The General ran out of steam about two miles north of Ringgold, where a large marble marker has stood since 1901. The grant will be used for improvements to the site, but commissioners and Sons of Confederate Veterans camp members have debated about an additional plaque, directional signs informing drivers of the marker or more parking space along state Highway 151, where the marker sits. Committee member Tom Poteet said all the options were improvements, but whatever is done needs to be completed by the 150th anniversary of the chase in 2012.


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