June Newsletter and Meeting Notice

June 20th, 2011 – Our 27th Meeting!!

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, June 20th, 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: – “The Mexican War: A Civil War Training Ground”

Lee, Grant, McClellan, Beauregard, Jackson, and over 200 more Civil War generals fought together in Mexico in 1846 and 1847. They developed friendships in Mexico that would be shattered a decade and a half later. At places like Monterrey, Cerro Gordo, and Chapultepec, these officers learned that aggressive offensive tactics win battles and they remembered those lessons well in the Civil War even though technology was already bringing about an evolution in warfare that elevated defensive fighting. This talk will highlight the Mexican War experiences of a few of the well-known Civil War names and provide a glimpse of their first lessons in combat. If you study military history it is linear in nature and what is used in one war likely came from something learned and developed in a previous war. The Mexican War was not an exception where a U.S. Army, supported by volunteer regiments, fought a very good Mexican Army trained and equipped along the lines of Napoleon’s famous Grande Armee and led by the “Napoleon of the West,” General Santa Anna.

Our speaker, Dr. Tim Johnson, received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Alabama and joined the History Department at Lipscomb University in Nashville in 1991. He has written over twenty articles for scholarly journals, magazines, and encyclopedias, and he has authored or edited six books. His biography of General Winfield Scott and his book about the 1847 Mexico City Campaign were both nominated for national prizes and were History Book Club selections. His most recent book, Liberty VS Power: The Founding Fathers’ Vision for America, is a short and easy-to-read reminder of our nation’s founding principle of limited government.

Professor Johnson has been a research fellow at Yale University as well as the Virginia Historical Society. He has spoken at the National Archives in Washington, and appeared on The History Channel, C-SPAN, and Public Television. He has received “Outstanding Teacher” recognition at Lipscomb University, and recently Lipscomb designated him as University Research Professor. He has been married to his wife Jayne for 32 years, and they have three sons.

Please join us for what will prove to be an informative program.


We were fortunate to have Dr. Michael Bradley speak to us on the staff and escort of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Using primary sources and delivered with complete knowledge of the topic and laced with humor, Dr. Bradley showed us who these men were, what made them work so well together and why Forrest’s cavalry became such a scourge to the Union Army in the war. Their performances in battle and camp were analyzed and all were found to be resolute, brave and intelligent men who served their fiery commander very well indeed. The program was based on his book which is very much worth getting.

Any CWRT would be well-served in getting Dr. Bradley to speak to them on this topic. We look forward to having him back soon.

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

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 – Derek Frisby, Middle Tennessee State University – “Tennessee’s Secession Crisis”

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 – John Walsh, Ft. Donelson Relics – “Civil War Photography”

MEMBERS AND DUES – The membership has decided that every May will be our fiscal year. Please plan on taking care of your membership renewals at this meeting. 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

When your dues are paid your name badge with two stars 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!

Dues for the 2011-2012 campaign are due at this month’s meeting. Thanks for supporting the Nashville CWRT.


Battle Of Nashville Preservation Society and the Lamlighters Theater Present “The Andersonville Trial,” June 2011

The famous Civil War play and movie, “The Andersonville Trial,” based on the trial of camp commandant Captain Henry Wirz, will be presented at Nashville’s downtown Presbyterian Church in three performances on Friday, June 17 (one performance) and Saturday (two performances), June 18, 2011. The play will be performed in the historic sanctuary of the antebellum church which is located on the corner of 5th Avenue and Church Street. The Friday performance begins at 7:30 PM while those of Saturday will be 3:00 PM and 7:30 PM. Tickets are $15 and can be bought at the door or through http://www.ticketsNashville.com. For more information please visit http://www.lamplighterstheatre.com or call (615)969-9273.

This is a wonderful opportunity to view a famous Civil War play in a Civil War era church which was built in 1851 and has a famous interior and sanctuary. The church was designed by the same man who designed Tennessee’s state capitol.

Atlanta Campaign Tour Led by Greg Biggs – October 21-23, 2011

The Tennessee Valley CWRT of Huntsville, Alabama is having a three day guided tour of the first phase of the Atlanta Campaign led by our own Greg Biggs. This tour begins at Ringgold, GA and ends at Kennesaw Mountain. The CWRT is opening the tour up to anyone who wishes to attend. The tour begins out of Huntsville and people can park either there or in the Chattanooga area where others will be picked up. The tour fee includes hotels, bus, guide, park fees and much more. For more information please email Kent Wright at – kdwrt@netzero.net. Greg has been leading Atlanta tours since 1993 and has been walking these battlefields for many years.

Graves Of American Soldiers Killed In The Mexican War Found In Monterrey Mexico

The developer of an apartment complex in Monterrey, Mexico, began clearing the land for the project in 1996 and almost immediately the workers come across human remains. The project is halted and archeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico are contacted and they began an extensive survey to see what these bodies were and if more could be found. Indeed, over the years, several more bodies were found. As of last month, eleven have been recovered. One of them retained .75 caliber musket balls in the skeleton and another had coins from 1822 and 1846 laid over the eye sockets.

What were these bodies and where did the musket balls come from? The site for the apartments is on the old Battle of Monterrey battlefield and these soldiers are American troops buried on the battlefield who were either killed in action or died in the hospital. Based on where these troops were found they are most likely from Colonel William Bowen Campbell’s 1st Tennessee Volunteers or Colonel Jefferson Davis’ Mississippi Rifles. Both regiments were part of the American attack on the Teneria (tannery) which the Mexicans had converted into a fortress. The 1st Tennessee suffered 100 casualties in the attack. The Battle of Monterrey was fought in September 1846 when the American forces under General Zachary Taylor attacked the fortified city. Several notable Civil War figures were involved in this battle besides Davis and Campbell including artillerist Braxton Bragg, whose guns helped win the battle. The standard musket for the Mexican Army was the British Brown Bess musket which was of .75 caliber.

These discoveries have been confirmed by the Mexican INAH who entered into a protracted legal battle with the developer over their survey of this site. Fort Campbell, on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line, is named for William Bowen Campbell who also became a Union general in the Civil War. For those that are not familiar with Fort Campbell, it is the home post for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 5th Special Forces Group and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (the famous Night Stalkers).

To date Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander nor Congressman Marsha Blackburn have not responded to emails or letters from Captain Page on this issue but Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has. Govenor Haslam has directed the state Commissioner of Veteran’s Affairs to investigate the remains and to determine what can be done. The Tennessee State Adjutant General’s Office is also aware and has acknowledged Captain Page’s letter and can provide support for burial, etc. if these men are indeed Tennesseans who can be brought back to Tennessee for reburial. If they prove to also be men from Mississippi then political officials from that state also need to be informed.

It would be wonderful if the membership of this roundtable would also contact their Tennessee representatives and for the members of the CWRTs getting this newsletter would do the same with their representatives. Little has been reported on this story save for a recent scroll on Fox News last week and MSNBC some years ago. It would be great if these men could be repatriated home for reburial or moved to the American cemetery in Mexico City. Right now the remains are in storage awaiting their fate. These are American soldiers sent to do the bidding of their government who gave the ultimate in patriotism by sacrificing their lives in a war. Please contact your elected officials to make these men known to them. If enough of them know about it then maybe they can be buried properly in a real cemetery. It is the least we can do.

For more information on this please contact Captain Jim Page, US Army, 101st Airborne Division historian at – jim.page@us.army.mil. Captain Page will give us a short address on these findings at this month’s Nashville CWRT meeting.

General Dan Sickles Lost Leg On The Move (From the Raleigh CWRT newsletter)

Union General Daniel Sickles, commander of the 3rd Corps at Gettysburg, had his leg shattered by a cannonball on the second day of the battle when Gen. James Longstreet’s Confederates smashed his corps at the Peach Orchard. Sickles left the field on a stretcher smoking his cigar and cheering his boys on. After having the leg amputated, he later met with President Lincoln and gave him the first report on the battle which was not complimentary of commanding General George Gordon Meade.

Sickles’ leg was later put on display in the Army Medical Museum near Washington. It is said that he even led tours of the site making sure that everyone got to see it! Well, that leg is on the move for a time anyway. It is to be loaned to Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland for a time so if you happen to be in the DC area, Frederick is only an hour northwest. This is close to the Civil War Medical Museum in Hagerstown and the Antietam Battlefield. Even closer is the Monocacy Battlefield and Gettysburg is not that far north of Frederick. So make your vacation plans and be sure to see Ol’ Dan’s leg!

USS Olympia, Spanish-American War Cruiser Needs Our Help

The cruiser USS Olympia from the Spanish-American War, is one of the most historic warships that still survive from the US Navy. It was the flagship of Admiral George Dewey in the Battle of Manila Bay in the Phillipines. While this is a warship from a war after the Civil War, George Dewey was a US Navy veteran officer of the Civil War. He served under David Farragut at New Orleans in 1862 and Port Hudson in 1863. He was also at Fort Fisher in North Carolina in 1865. The USS Olympia is ported at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the river – and it is the river that has become her worst enemy. She has a lot of hull damage that needs repairs and then she will probably need moving to a dry dock situation for further display to the public. She is actually in danger of sinking at her moorings if these repairs are not made soon. An alternative has been proposed to tow her out to sea and sink her! This would be a tragic loss of our naval history! The National Trust for Historic Preservation has stepped up and is now fund raising along with the Independence Seaport Museum to help get the USS Olympia stabilized and perhaps moved to a dry display area. You can visit this link and follow the easy directions for making donations: http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/northeast-region/the-uss-olympia.html


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