February 15th, 2010 – Our 11th Meeting
The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, February 15th, 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.
OUR SPEAKER AND TOPIC:
“NAVAL WARFARE ON THE WESTERN RIVERS”
U.S. Ironclads at Cairo, Illinois U.S.S. Tyler, Timberclad gunboat
The three major theaters of the Civil War had circumstances unique to each. The smaller Eastern Theater had smaller rivers that were not navigable for deep draft warships and only navigable for shallower draft vessels and even with those only to certain points. The Trans-Mississippi region had a few rivers where shallow draft vessels could be used and in a few campaigns, such warships were used.
It was in the Western Theater, however, where the bigger rivers made it possible for fleets of shallower draft warships to be built by both sides. The Union Navy, initially a deep-water oriented fleet, was forced by necessity to build a new fleet of river oriented warships and the first Confederate state to feel their wrath was Tennessee. Operating in a true combined arms manner, these warships, in conjunction with the Union Army, attacked and defeated every Confederate stronghold built to defend key points on the Mississippi, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Some 70,000 Confederate troops were captured, fortresses reduced and waterways deep into the Confederate interior were opened wide for Union invasion. The Confederates, although building a few warships to support their river fortresses, never built enough to counteract the superior Union naval forces of which the ironclad gunboats were the key.
Kent Wright, of the Tennessee Valley CWRT in Huntsville, Alabama, will inform us of the development of ironclad warships (among others) which would change naval theory forever, Union combined arms efforts to attack Confederate fortresses and the victory won in the west thanks to these combined arms operations. He will also cover the respective strategies used by both sides (warts and all) as well as the leading naval officers involved. Despite the many books written on the war in the West (and more are coming), there is still very little coverage of the naval aspects of the war. Mr. Wright’s program adds to this scholarship in a big way.
Kent Wright, a land-lubber from Nebraska, joined the nuclear U.S. Navy (1966-1972) and is a mechanical engineer by training. A graduate of Iowa State University, Mr. Wright has worked in the private nuclear industry for General Electric and the Tennessee Valley Authority where he trained nuclear engineers. His interest in the naval side of the Civil War sprang from his time living in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Now retired, Mr. Wright lives in Huntsville, Alabama with his wife Elizabeth. He is an officer with the Tennessee Valley CWRT in Huntsville and speaks to CWRTs around the South.
LAST MONTH’S MEETING
The one and only Thomas Cartwright gave a fine program based on his upcoming book “The Battle Of Thompson’s Station,” an interesting cavalry battle in the Spring of 1863 featuring Confederate troopers under Earl Van Dorn and Nathan Bedford Forrest. The battle fit into the much larger overall picture of cavalry raids against Union garrisons, supply lines and more, which made life quite difficult for occupying Union troops at times. We all gained a bigger appreciation for this battle thanks to the fine program by Mr. Cartwright.
FUTURE PROGRAMS (please check our new web site for other events):
March, 2010 – Krista Castillo – topic TBA
April, 2010 – Greg Biggs, author/historian – “The Atlanta Campaign, Part 1 – The Road To Kennesaw”
May, 2010 – Thomas Flagel – Columbia State Community College – “The Press Reports The Battle Of Nashville”
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
MEMBERS AND DUES:
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!
CIVIL WAR NEWS AND EVENTS:
Some Civil War Book News
Author Russell S. Bonds, who spoke to us in September on the Great Locomotive Chase, was just awarded the honor of having one of the Ten Best History Books of 2009 by Amazon.Com for his current title, War Like The Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning Of Atlanta. If you have not gotten this book, it is one of the very best Civil War books done in quite some time. Bonds is an impeccable researcher and a terrific writer and his prose pulls you into each battle and person involved in this critical phase of the Atlanta Campaign. This is an excellent mixture of military and civilian history from the Civil War.
Don’t forget Russ Bonds’ excellent debut book Stealing The General about the Great Locomotive Chase and the first Medals of Honor ever issued to American soldiers. Congratulations Russell!
For those that are Chickamauga fans, historian David Powell of Chicago, one of the best experts on this pivotal battle, has released his first book. Entitled, The Maps Of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign, Including the Tullahoma Operations, June 22-September 23, 1863. Since the campaigns for Tullahoma and Chattanooga, both fought in Tennessee, lead directly to Chickamauga, author Powell wisely includes them in this study. With a page of text for each detailed map, the reader will be able to see the movements of troops as well as the fighting which makes the volume a must for taking to tours of each field. The maps, done by David Friedrichs, are beautiful and in full color. They are clean and easy to read. This book is the product of ten years of work and it shows. The publisher, Savas-Beatie, has pioneered the study of battles of the war using text and full color maps broken down to these tactical levels and Powell’s volume is the third of the series, which also includes Gettysburg and First Manassas. This is a more than worthy addition to your Civil War library!
Looking For Some More Civil War Reading? Try Some Civil War Roundtable Web Sites With Essays
Many CWRTs across the nation have web sites and some of them even post articles and essays written by their members or guest speakers. One fine example of this is the web site of the Cleveland, Ohio CWRT. Just visit http://www.clevelandcivilwarroundtable.com and be prepared to see dozens upon dozens of articles and essays written about battles and campaigns, the naval war, politics of the era, leaders and much more. There is pretty much something here for every interest. One of their members, John Fazio, has spoken to the Clarksville and Middle Tennessee CWRTs on the fabled fight between the CSS Alabama and the USS Kearsarge, and his essay on that fight is one of several he has written that can be found here. So give our friends in Ohio a visit and take some time to read the essays that are posted on their fine web site. They were even nice enough to post one written by our own Greg Biggs!
Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial web site is up and running
2011 brings the 150th Anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. As the states that were involved prepare for re-enactments, seminars and much more to commemorate this pivotal moment in our history, Tennessee has named its commission and launched a web site where you can go to find out about their programs and much more. Please visit http://www.tncivilwar150.com and check back often as more material is uploaded.
Ft. Negley’s Silver Screen Saturdays series resumes this month!
Ft. Negley Park will continue its wonderful Silver Screen Saturdays starting on Saturday, February 27th, 2010. This series, which has featured Civil War movies over the past year, will begin anew with the famous Ken Burns series on the Civil War. Part One will debut at 2 PM on the 27th and successive months will feature other episodes. Ft. Negley has a wonderful video and sound system in its theater so this will be a most enjoyable experience for the whole family. For more information please call (615) 862-8470.
Ulysses S. Grant Library possible for Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri (Springfield, MO News-Leader and Len Eagleberger of the Springfield CWRT)
St. Louis — Ulysses S. Grant led the Union to victory in the Civil War and served as president for two terms, yet no presidential library bears his name. That could change under a proposal to revitalize the Jefferson Barracks military post in St. Louis County. Construction of the library is far from certain and will depend largely on the ability to raise private funding, project manager Scott Emmelkamp said. But plans call for investing $68 million in public and private funds to create a military history tourist attraction by 2026, the 200th anniversary of the barracks’ opening. And part of the plan includes a $13 million library and museum named for Grant, the nation’s 18th president.
“We looked at potential opportunities to create a national level of tourist attraction, and certainly a presidential library, one related to the history of Jefferson Barracks, would make a lot of sense,” Emmelkamp said. It makes sense because Ohio-born Grant arrived at Jefferson Barracks as his first military assignment out of West Point in 1843. By that time, Jefferson Barracks, a sprawling 1,000-acre site on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, was the largest military establishment in the U.S. Grant met his wife, Julia Dent, in St. Louis. He left the military and farmed at her family’s home in St. Louis County in the 1850s before rejoining the military during the Civil War and eventually commanding the Union troops.
(Editor’s note: The Grant Homestead is open to the public in suburban St. Louis with a refurbished museum. This was the Dent family home and Grant courted Julia there. Jefferson Barracks, south of the city, was an important US military post and a who’s who of 19th Century American military names served there before the Civil War. This site is also open to the public and hopes the be the home of the Missouri Civil War Museum.)
Noted Civil War author Peter Cozzens to speak to the Franklin, TN CWRT – Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Those interested in the Civil War in the West will recognize the name of Peter Cozzens. Author of fine books on Stones River, Corinth, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, and a recent volume on the Valley Campaign of 1862, Cozzens has made a name for himself with more detailed studies of these battles than many of his predecessors. He will be speaking to the Franklin, TN CWRT on Sunday, March 14th in an afternoon session. Watch this space for further details.
Editorial: Preserve And Protect History (CWPT newsletter and Chattanooga Times Free Press)
U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, wants to more than triple the size of his state’s Petersburg National Battlefield. He’s proposed legislation that would allow the National Park Service to acquire 7,200 acres to add to the nearly 2,700 acres currently at the Civil War site. Doing so, he says, will protect it from residential and commercial development. His proposal has merit.
“Petersburg saw nearly one quarter of the Civil War fought in its surrounding area, and the preservation of these battlefields is important for future generations to understand and appreciate the significance of our nation’s history,” Sen. Webb says. “Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and this legislation serves as an appropriate and timely means to commemorate this significant historical event.” That’s certainly so, though finding the funds to underwrite the expansion will be tough given the nation’s current economic situation.
The Petersburg National Boundary Modification Act, if approved, would provide funding to purchase the additional acreage — which includes 12 surrounding battlefields — that is appraised at $29 million. It would also enable construction of a new visitors center. The expanded park, Sen. Webb says, would not protect historically significant land; it would also serve as an economic engine for the area. Tourism already generates millions of dollars annually in communities near the current park, and the expansion likely would attract additional visitors and revenue.
Metro Historical Commission Plans Civil War anniversary in Nashville (CWPT newsletter and Nashville Tennessean)
The Metro Historical Commission has formed a committee to gear up for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Nashville.
The war began in 1861 when 11 states, including Tennessee, seceded from the United States and formed the Confederacy.
The Battle of Nashville was fought over two days in December 1864 on land now known as Green Hills, destroying the Army of Tennessee, the second largest Confederate force.
Historical Commissioner Joan Armour said this is the commission’s first attempt to observe an anniversary of the War
Between the States and study its affect on Nashville. During their Jan 25 meeting, commissioners discussed teaming with
Metro Nashville Public Schools to teach students how Tennessee was instrumental in the war.
“I was shocked to find out they no longer teach Tennessee history, because I taught it to seventh graders eons ago,” said
Armour, who is working to create a central calendar of events for the sesquicentennial. “Students need to know about their state. It’s part of their history and part of who they are.”
Commissioners are considering forming a group of speakers to lecture to schools, civic groups and at public events; partnering with a local theater group to present living history tours; producing public service announcements to broadcast on Metro Channel 3; and updating brochures. Huntington said she is working with school system administrators to
increase the number of field trips to local historic landmarks like Fort Negley and the Hermitage.