March Newsletter and Meeting Notice

March 21st, 2011 – Our 24th Meeting!!

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, March 21st, 2011, 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: “Heroes Of Little Round Top”

Those of us familiar with the Battle of Gettysburg will know of the stand of the Union brigade commanded by Strong Vincent who held the left of the Union line anchored on Little Round Top. One of Vincent’s regiments, the 20th Maine Infantry, was commanded by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, and was Vincent’s left flank. The regiment’s stand against the 15th Alabama Infantry in assault after assault is still studied today at West Point as an example of tactical leadership. This stand was, of course, a central depiction in the well known film “Gettysburg,” Another Union brigade, Stephen Weed’s, was to Vincent’s right and they bore the brunt of Confederate attacks straight up the slope itself. To his north, other Union brigades fought actions against advancing Confederates in the Peach Orchard, sent there by III Corps commander Daniel Sickles where they were largely destroyed by Lafayette McLaw’s Confederate division.

On the Confederate side, several of the most famous formations of the Army of Northern Virginia were directly involved at Little Round Top or close to it. Hood’s Texans, Henry “Rock” Benning’s Georgians and Evander Law’s Alabamians who, coming straight from a march of many miles, were thrown right into the assault, were among these units. The fighting was grim and determined and the product of a battle plan at the highest levels of the rebel army that had its detractors and was probably altered during the attack by John Bell Hood. Ultimately, it was the control of the high ground and a lack of Confederate combat power that did them in and they fell back setting the stage for the third day of the battle. This fight in the overall Battle of Gettysburg, is rife with leadership problems, good and poor planning and plain old guts by soldiers who did the marching and dying.

We are very lucky to have one of the acknowledged experts on Little Round Top, Dr. Glenn LaFantasie, the Frockt Family Professor of History at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, author of the book, Twilight At Little Round Top, as this month’s speaker. In addition to teaching the Civil War at WKU, he is also Director of their Center For the Study of the Civil War in the West. His engaging speaking style and mastery of his topics make him a much in demand speaker for Civil War roundtables and conferences. His other books include an excellent biography of 15th Alabama Colonel William C. Oates entitled Gettysburg Requiem: The Life of William C. Oates and a forthcoming title on the relationship between US Grant and President Lincoln. He has also written for North & South magazine, Military Historical Quarterly, America’s Civil War, American History and other publications. He served as Deputy Historian for the U.S. State Department for a number of years.

Please join us as we welcome Dr. Glenn LaFantasie at this month’s meeting of the Nashville CWRT.


Our own Ross Massey, who is also the historian of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society, gave us an excellent program on the actions of General James Chalmers’ Cavalry Division in the Battle of Nashville. While the Union cavalry was heavily involved in the two days, the exploits f the Confederate cavalry are often glossed over. Indeed they were engaged as well, holding the flanks and covering the retreat of the defeated Army of Tennessee in actions at Belle Meade Plantation and at the barricades on Granny White Pike.

Ross began his program, supported by slides, with a history of James Chalmers as colonel of the 9th Mississippi Infantry who rose to command the Mississippi “High Pressure Brigade” from Shiloh through the Kentucky Campaign. After transferring to the cavalry, Chalmers commanded the troopers in Mississippi until the arrival of Nathan Bedford Forrest in the fall of 1863 whereupon he became a division commander under Forrest. Ross suggested that this might have caused some friction between the two officers, but if there was it was not as overt as relationships between Forrest and some other officers. Chalmers remained a trusted subordinate for the rest of the war. Ross then concluded the program with details of Chalmer’s actions at Nashville and on the retreat into Alabama where he ended the war in 1865. As always with Ross’ programs, they are informative and always entertaining! Thanks Ross!

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

April 2011 – Michael Panhorst, Auburn, AL – “Civil War Battlefield Monuments”

May 2011 – Dr. Michael Bradley, historian/author – “The Bodyguard and Staff of Nathan Bedford Forrest”

June 2011 – Dr. Tim Johnson, Lipscomb University – “Civil War Officers in the Mexican War”

July 2011 – Bobby Krick, Historian, Richmond National Battlefield – “The Seven Days Campaign and the Rise of Robert E. Lee”

August 2011 – Greg Wade, Franklin CWRT, “The December 17, 1864 Retreat from Nashville and The Battle of the West Harpeth (Medals of Honor, Fascinating Personalities and an Agricultural Giant)”

September 2011 – TBA

October 2011 – Phil Seyfrit, Richmond KY Battlefield, “The Battle of Richmond, Kentucky”

November 2011 – Eric Jacobson, Battle of Franklin Trust – “Baptism of Fire: The Role of Federal Recruits at the Battle of Franklin”

December 2011 – TBA

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 with a star on it will be available at the following meeting. If your badge does not have a star on it then you are not current. 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!


Cave City, Kentucky Civil War Relic Show and Civil War Reenactment – May 27-29, 2011

Cave City, Kentucky, located just east of Exit 53 off I-65 north of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is having a combination Civil War Relic Show and Reenactment on the weekend of May 27-29, 2011. This is Memorial Day weekend. The event will be held in the Cave City Convention Center. The relic show is on Saturday and Sunday only and the hours are 9 AM to 9 PM and on Sunday, 9 AM to 5 PM. For more information call Cave City City Hall at (270)773-2188 or visit their web site at:

You can make this an additionally fun weekend by also going up US 31 to Rowlett’s Station and Munfordville and see more Civil War history on the wonderful walking trails they have developed. These are only a few miles north of Cave City.

Battle of Nashville Preservation Society Membership Banquet Saturday March 26, 2011

The Battle of Nashville membership drive and auction will be held at Traveller’s Rest in Nashville on Saturday March 26th, 2011. It is open to anyone wishing to attend and hopefully join the fine preservation organization that has done so much to save Civil War sites around Nashville. The organization is also planning for a symposium along with other programs so keep your eyes open for more announcements as they become available. For more information on this banquet please email Ellen Duer McClanahan at – – or call (615)804-5068.

If you wish to join them, the dues are $ 20.00 for an individual and $ 25.00 for a family. Your check should be mailed to Battle of Nashville Preservation Society, Inc. or BONPS, P.O. Box 190493, Nashville, TN 37219. Your payment is tax deductible as BONPS is non-profit corporation.

Bowling Green, Kentucky Civil War Roundtable Kicks Off This Month

Located only an hour from Nashville, historic Bowling Green, Kentucky now has a new Civil War Roundtable. The debut meeting is Thursday, March 17, 2011. The meetings will always be the third Thursday of each month. This night was chosen to allow them to line up with the Clarksville, Murfreesboro and Nashville CWRTs in Tennessee over consecutive nights thus enabling them to join in sharing speakers from longer distances. The members of the Nashville CWRT welcome the Bowling Green CWRT to the family of Civil War Roundtables.

Austin Peay State University Civil War Lecture – March 24, 2011 at 5 PM in Clarksville

Our good friends at Austin Peay are offering another fine Civil War lecture on Thursday, March 24, 2011 and it is free to the public. The event will be held in the Gentry Auditorium at 5 PM. The featured speaker is Caroline Janney, history professor at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, and her program will be – “Clasping Hands Over the Bloody Chasm: Civil War Veterans’ Reunions and the Path to Reconciliation.” This program and speaker come highly praised by the Indianapolis Civil War Roundtable, among others.

To find the Gentry Auditorium, take I-24 to Exit 4 and turn left under the freeway, then continue south past the mall on Wilma Rudolph Blvd/Highway 79, into Clarksville. As the road turns right towards downtown (the name changes to College Street), the Austin Peay campus will appear on the right. At Ford Street turn right. The Hemlock Semiconductor Building is on this corner. Turn left on Marion Street and park in the large lot on the right across from the Music/Mass Communications building that houses the Gentry Auditorium. You will see the football stadium to the west of the lot. Please support this fine program and don’t forget – it is free!

New Woman’s Diary Published – Nashville’s Own Maggie Vaulx by our Ross Hudgins

Our own Ross Hudgins has released the book, Maggie: The Civil War Journals of Margaret Nichol Vaulx, and it’s already at the book stores. Part of the ever-growing number of books covering the female side of the Civil War, Maggie Vaulx (pronounced Voss), was the daughter of a staff officer of Confederate General Benjamin Cheatham. The Vaulx family was prominent in Nashville. The book can be found on the and sites or our friends at Borders can order it for you. For those of you who heard Ross’ excellent program at the Nashville CWRT in January will be very interested in getting this book. Hopefully Ross can bring copies to the meetings.

Nashville’s Metro Historical Commission Kicks Off The Civil War Sesquicentennial, April 9, 2011

The Metro Historical Commission’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee has planned a kick-off event for April 9, 2011. It will be held at The Downtown Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Fifth and Church in downtown Nashville. The event is free and the general public is encouraged to attend. The event will last from 8:30 AM until Noon.

The day will begin with welcoming remarks from Mayor Karl Dean, and a brief history of the Civil War use of the church as a Federal hospital. The first speaker will be Dr. Jonathan Atkins (Berry College) speaking on “Parties, Politics, and the Sectional Conflict in Tennessee 1832-1861,” in which he describes the causes in Tennessee leading to the Civil War. At 10 AM, Dr. Kristopher Ray (Austin Peay State University and editor of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly) will describe how the leaders in both north and south reinterpreted the actions of the nation’s founding fathers to suit their own political, social, and economic purposes. The Fisk Jubilee Singers will perform at 11 AM, presenting spirituals and other songs appropriate to the Civil War period. This is the first of a planned series of events for the Civil War Sesquicentennial in Nashville, Tennessee.


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