May Meeting Update and Newsletter

May 17th, 2010 – Our 14th Meeting!!

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, May 17th, 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.

Recent Floods – We sure hope that none of our members and friends were harmed in any way from the recent floods in the Nashville area. Thankfully, in Clarksville, we only had a leaky garage but it still took three days to clean up and repair! Don’t forget those that lost everything and please help when you can!

OUR SPEAKER AND TOPIC:

“Great Panic Prevails: How The Press Reported The Battle Of Nashville”

Nearly 150 years have passed since John Bell Hood’s fateful campaign into Middle Tennessee and the demise of his army at the gates of Nashville. While we in the twenty-first century have a rather detailed account, sewn together from decades of archival research and mountains of collected materials, what about Americans – North and South – who were alive at that pivotal moment in time? What did the battle look like to them?

Foremost, they turned to their daily and weekly newspapers, gleaning every line for shreds of truth amidst the tangle of rumors. For them, it was in these grey pages where history literally unfolded. What did they see, what were they told, and what did they believe?

Historian and author Thomas Flagel examines this unique perspective of a once thriving medium. In a multimedia review, he retells the story of a population trying to piece together some semblance of reality, while it suffered through a most surreal war.

Thomas Flagel teaches American History at Columbia State Community College. He holds degrees from Loras College, Kansas State University, Creighton University , and has studied at the University of Vienna . Author of books on the Civil War, World War II, and the American Presidency, he is currently working on a volume concerning Abraham Lincoln. Flagel lives in Franklin, Tennessee, and he is on the Mayor’s Battlefield Task Force and is a board member of the Carter House and the Franklin Civil War Round Table. Originally from Iowa, he has several Civil War veterans among his ancestors, including a great, great, great grandfather from the 2nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry.

We hope you will join us for this informative program by a very gifted speaker.

LAST MONTH’S MEETING

Our Program Chair, Greg Biggs, presented the first of two programs covering the Atlanta Campaign of May-September, 1864. Biggs stated early on that it was his belief that this was the war’s most important campaign as its victorious outcome for the Union directly lead to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Biggs introduced the cast of characters of the campaign and rated them as the program evolved. Additionally, the strategic overviews for both sides were covered in detail as well as the consequences of losing the Deep South agricultural and industrial areas. Using detailed maps, period and modern photos of key sites, Biggs took our CWRT on the road to Kennesaw beginning at Ringgold Gap and concluding with the first Kennesaw Line. Confederate commander Gen. Joseph Johnston, and Union commander Gen. William T. Sherman, both came under criticism for errors committed as the campaign evolved; indeed the campaign was a case of neither officer seeking the all-out bloody battle to decide the campaign. Biggs was also effusive in his report of Sherman’s logistical planning; indeed it was arguably the finest such preparations of the entire war! With such detailed planning under his belt, Sherman could conduct his campaign with little to fear from raiding Confederate cavalry due to his leap-frogging of depots as he advanced deeper into Georgia.

The program will conclude in September and will encompass the second Kennesaw Line through the surrender of the city. Thanks Greg for the presentation.

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

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 – John Marler, Battle of Franklin Trust/former Petersburg NBF – “The Petersburg Campaign.”

MEMBERS AND DUES – The membership has decided that every May will be our fiscal year.

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!

DUES ARE DUE AT THIS MAY MEETING SO PLEASE BE PREPARED TO TAKE CARE OF THEM AT THIS TIME. Your dues money goes to support the Nashville CWRT and helps to cover our speaker costs. The proceeds from the book sales also go into our treasury so please support your CWRT by buying some books.

CIVIL WAR NEWS AND EVENTS:

Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Association Fund Raising Rummage Sale – May 15th, 2010

The Parkers Crossroads Battlefield Association will sponsor a rummage sale/flea market style fund raiser on Saturday, May 15th from 7 AM -3 PM. Proceeds will assist the June Living History expenses. The “rummage sale” will be held in the field adjacent to the Log Cabin Visitors Center at 20650 Highway 22 North. Po Boy’s (Pizza Place) of Parkers Crossroads has offered the use of their large and COLORFUL special events tent for the event.

The event organizer is Deborah Teague. Should you have items to donate or can help with the sale, do call 731-845-3114 or email deborahteaguetn@yahoo.com Donated items can be left at the Visitor’s Center on weekends during regular operating hours of 9am to 5pm. Parker’s Crossroads is just off I-40 at Exit 108 west of Nashville.

Ft. Negley’s Krista Castillo to present May 14th program

Fort Negley Museum Director (and Nashville CWRT president) Krista Castillo will present a photo journal presentation of Fort Negley on Friday, May 14th. Contact the visitor center at (615)862-8470 for more details. If you haven’t visited the restored fort and visitor’s center, you are in for a treat!

Preservation Efforts for Battle of Monterrey Pass Receive Support – By Matt McLaughlin – Waynesboro Record-Herald (PA) (From the CWPT newsletter)

Significant strides have been made since Washington Township agreed to raise funds to purchase land and establish an interpretive site dedicated to the Battle of Monterey Pass in January. During a Jan. 29 meeting between the Monterey Pass Battlefield Association and Washington Township supervisors, the board agreed to seek funding and be the recipient of donations for purchasing a property near the Lions Club’s Rolando Woods Park and establishing it as an interpretive site, complete with a visitors center. Once established, the township would own the site, but the Battle of Monterey Pass Committee — made up of the association and its partners — would be responsible for its planning and operation, Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said in January.

The Battle of Monterey Pass, fought July 4 and 5, 1863, began in Fountaindale as Confederate forces limped back to the South after the Battle of Gettysburg. It was the second-largest conflict fought on northern soil during the Civil War and the only one fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. A step forward in preserving a piece of the Monterey Pass battlefield was the signing of a sale agreement for the .83-acre property near Rolando Woods Park April 21. The property, owned by Mary Rae Cantwell, is located at 13325 Buchanan Trail East and was the location of the last Confederate defense during the 1863 battle. Supervisor Elaine Gladhill, an advocate of preserving the history of the battle, said the township has already received more than $1,000 in donations.

About $100,000 is needed to buy all the property and township recently applied for $49,950 from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant for purchasing the property. The township would provide matching funds of $52,900. More than 75 letters of support for the grant were submitted. Agencies that wrote letters of support include the Monterey Pass Battlefield Association, Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Franklin County Visitors Bureau, Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Franklin County Area Development Corp., Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County Planning Commission, Borough of Waynesboro, One Mountain Foundation, Franklin County Historical Society, Waynesboro Area School District, Greater Area Emmitsburg Historical Society and Cumberland Valley Rifles.

Donations can be made at the township office at 13013 Welty Road, Wayne Heights. Checks should be made payable to Washington Township.

Virginia Seeks Balance in Making War’s Anniversary – By Rosalind Helderman, Washington Post (From the CWPT newsletter)

When Virginia and the rest of the nation set out to mark the 100th anniversary of the Civil War in 1961, the party got off to a rocky start. Intricate plans were made to mark the military conquests of the Confederate and Union armies, but little attention was paid to the experience of individuals — soldiers, civilians and slaves. A massive reenactment of the Battle of Bull Run at Manassas was marred by too little water and too few bathrooms. Most jarringly, some adopted the events as an opportunity to celebrate the Confederacy in the face of the burgeoning civil rights movement. At last, President John F. Kennedy called on a 31-year-old historian to take over as the centennial’s executive director, refocusing it on sober education.

Virginia has turned to the same man — James I. Robertson Jr., a history professor at Virginia Tech and a Civil War expert — to help the state avoid the same kinds of problems as it prepares to mark next year’s 150th anniversary of the start of the war. With Robertson’s guidance, a commission established by the General Assembly to plan the state’s sesquicentennial events has spent four years trying to avoid the impression that they will amount to a celebration of the Confederacy.

There are no Confederate battle flags on the commission’s homepage. One of its first events is a scholarly conference titled “Race, Slavery and the Civil War: The Tough Stuff of American History and Memory.” Commission members, a bipartisan collection of 15 legislators, historians and others, even shy from the word “celebrate,” preferring to use “commemorate” instead. “We’re going to make it a serious thing, an all-inclusive thing,” Robertson said. ‘Brother against brother.”

Virginia officials hope they can attract tourist dollars from war buffs from across the country during four years of events in the state with more Civil War battlefields than any other. The commission, founded in 2006, is funded through a $2 million annual appropriation from the legislature, as well as private grants. But they are keenly aware that Virginia was the capital of the Confederacy and home to many of its most famous figures. The commonwealth got a reminder of the sensitivities involved when Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) declared last month Confederate History Month, a proclamation he said would bring attention to the 150th anniversary. McDonnell quickly apologized after facing stinging national criticism for omitting references to slavery. But an amended version that called slavery an abomination did not satisfy those who thought it was still too deferential to Virginia’s role in a losing rebellion.

One place he might start is at the September conference on slavery at Norfolk State University, which has 1,200 registrants. It will be chaired by James O. Horton, professor emeritus of African American history at George Mason University and an expert on slavery. Horton called the conference “very important to understanding the Civil War, understanding the issues that really shaped the tremendous and heated debates of history.” Slavery plays an important role, too, in a two-disc DVD set that’s been produced by the commission and distributed to every school in the state. It emphasizes the experience of soldiers on both sides, African Americans — free and enslaved — as well as civilians on the home front.

The commission’s work has not been without critics. The Richmond Free Press, a black-owned newspaper, has run several editorials criticizing the commission as a waste of taxpayer money whose work is bound to invite four years of Confederate flag waving. “Most eighth-graders know that Virginia’s participation [in the war] was hardly worthy of promoting,” publisher Raymond H. Boone wrote last year.

At the same time, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans say the commission is running a politically correct event that will ignore their ancestors’ sacrifices. “I think they’re so afraid of offending someone, hurting someone’s feelings, that they’re just going to do this generic, bland commemoration, where at the end, we know we’ve commemorated something, but we’re not quite sure what,” said Frank Earnest, a Virginia Beach resident and chief of the heritage defense for the group.

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), who chairs the commission, said such criticism shows the committee has found the right balance.

Communities Face Shortage of Funds to Commemorate Civil War – By Andy Johns, Chattanooga Free Press (From the CWPT newsletter)

During much of the Civil War, Confederate troops were short on manpower, funding and equipment. Nearly 150 years later, as local officials make plans to commemorate the war’s sesquicentennial anniversary, they face the same challenges. Local governments, historic groups and tourism leaders hope to capitalize on tourists they hope will flock to local sites during re-enactments and other anniversary events. But trying to raise money for marketing campaigns during a recession and a major state budget shortfall has proven to be difficult.

Every time Chickamauga City Manager John Culpepper has gone to Atlanta seeking money for various campaigns, he has found only empty pockets. Mr. Culpepper, who also is the Georgia Civil War Commission president, said the state initially budgeted $500,000 toward publicizing state sites and events for the 150th anniversary. That funding was stripped out with the first round of budget cuts, he explained. For comparison’s sake, Virginia included $2 million in its budget to prepare for the anniversary, Mr. Culpepper said. “The state of Georgia hasn’t budgeted anything,” he said.

Because the financial situation is so tough, Mr. Culpepper recently started the Tri-State Civil War Association to combine resources and promote related sites and events in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. In 2013, the Battle of Chickamauga re-enactment will be the largest in the Deep South with as many as 12,000 re-enactors expected, Mr. Culpepper said. The key, he said, will be getting those visitors to stay an extra day or two to visit Resaca, Ringgold or other nearby towns with historic sites. Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell called the potential tourism boost from the Civil War anniversary “very important.” She said she hoped to have another hotel in the county by then and said she would hoped to add a lodging tax for the unincorporated areas of the county in anticipation of the anniversary.

NASHVILLE CWRT OFFICERS –

The membership voted last month to retain the current slate of officers for another year’s term. The officers thank the members for their vote of confidence!

Krista Castillo – President – Krista.Castillo@nashville.gov
Gary Burke – Vice President – Escaped886@yahoo.com
Karel Lea Biggs – Newsletter – karelleabiggs@charter.net
Philip Duer – Treasurer and Preservation Liason – Peep4328@cs.com
Greg Biggs – Program Chair – Biggsg@charter.net
Ellen Duer McClanahan – Secretary

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