April Meeting Notice and Newsletter

April 16th, 2012 – Our 37th Meeting!! We begin our fourth year!

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, April 16th, 2012, 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: “Civil War Arkansas 1863: The Battle for a State”

In 1863, Union commanders began a concentrated campaign to gain control of the Arkansas River valley and split the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy in half. In January, Union commander John McClernand, a political general from Illinois, sought to upstage Ulysses S. Grant especially after his failed attempt to take Vicksburg in December 1862. Gathering an army and with naval support, McClernand went after Fort Hindman, better known as Arkansas Post, which protected the Arkansas River approach to the state capital of Little Rock. After a battle, McClernand was able to capture the entire garrison earning a rare victory and gloating rights over Grant. This set into motion a series of battles to control Arkansas that would take the rest of the year.

In early July, 1863, while battles at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and the Tullahoma Campaign waged, Confederate forces attacked the fortified Union garrison at Helena, Arkansas. If they took the town, they could again cut the Mississippi River perhaps offsetting, somewhat, the pending defeat at Vicksburg. But they were repulsed after several assaults and heavy casualties. After this, Union General Frederick Steele, Grant’s West Point classmate, took a force to take the state capital of Little Rock. Plagued by disease and Confederate defense, Steele finally took the city in September 1863. In October, the Confederates struck back seeking to capture Pine Bluff on the Arkansas River and cut Federal supply lines. A stout Union defense threw back their assaults and held the town. Supporting all of this was the Union victory in the Indian Territory which secured the western portion of Arkansas. Other than raids, Arkansas remained in Federal hands for the rest of the war.

Our speaker, Mark Christ, probably knows more about the war in Arkansas than anyone around. His most recent book covers the campaigns that will be the subject of his program for the Nashville CWRT. Many of these will not be that well known, save possibly Helena, but the importance of them is little appreciated. Offsetting Vicksburg could have been one result had the Confederates won at Helena and Arkansas Post. Mark will have his books for sale at the meeting.

Mark Christ is community outreach director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage He joined the AHPP in 1990 after eight years as a professional journalist. A 1982 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he received his Master’s degree in 2000 from the University of Oklahoma, where he wrote a thesis based on the Little Rock Campaign of 1863. He is a member of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, serves as vice chairman of the board of directors of the Arkansas Humanities Council and is a member of the board of trustees of the Arkansas Historical Association. He has written and edited several books, including “Rugged and Sublime” The Civil War in Arkansas, Sentinels of History: Reflections on Arkansas Properties Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History, “Getting Used To Being Shot At”: The Spence Family Civil War Letters, “All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell”: The Civil War, Race Relations and the Battle of Poison Spring, “The Earth Shook and Trees Trembled”: Civil War Arkansas 1863-1864, and “The Die is Cast: Arkansas Goes to War, 1861”. The University of Oklahoma Press just published his newest book, Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State, which won the 2010 Douglas Southall Freeman Award.

Please join us as Mark Chris of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program tells us much more about the Civil War in Arkansas in 1863.


Michael Manning, chief ranger of Fort Donelson National Battlefield, gave us a very strong and detailed program on the Civil War in the Indian Territory. Supported by an excellent power point presentation, the program covered the beginnings of the Indian tribes that took part in the war who allied themselves and their removal to the Indian Territory in the ante-bellum years. Within this came splits within some of the tribes involved with parts being pro-South and parts being pro-Union. The program covered the diplomacy used by the Confederates to woo these tribes to their cause with great success. All of this played into the strategic goals of both sides, in particular with the affairs of Arkansas and Texas in the Trans-Mississippi region. The Federal invasions and Confederate counters to them took up the rest of the program with vivid images of the battlefields today as part of the visual support. This is an excellent program delivered with complete knowledge of the campaigns by someone who is from Oklahoma and has studied these campaigns for many years. The program was also the topic of a recent issue of Blur & gray magazine. If you are looking for something new for your CWRT then getting this program would fit the bill very well.

Thanks Mike!

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

May 2012 – Nancy Baird, Western Kentucky University/author – “Josie Underwood’s Civil War; A Union Girl in Bowling Green, KY”

June 2012 – Gordon and Traci Belt, authors – “Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion in the Army of Tennessee”

July 2012 – The one and only Ed Bearss!!!!!! We are not kidding!!! Topic to be determined.

August 2012 – Jim Ogden, Chattanooga-Chickamauga NMP – “The Prelude to Chickamauga” (tentative)

September 2012 – Ruth Hill McAllister, author/historian – “Sam Watkins Memoirs, Company Aytch” (tentative)

October 2012 – Dr. Brian Wills, Kennesaw State University, author/historian – “General George Thomas” (tentative)

November 2012 – Dorothy Kelly, Knoxville CWRT and author – topic TBA (tentative)

December 2012 – Krista Castillo, Fort Negley and Nashville CWRT – “Christmas In The Civil War”

January 2013 – Rick Warwick, Williamson County Historian – topic TBA (tentative)

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!

We cannot bring in speakers without dues being paid so if you have not yet renewed for 2011-2012 please do so. Thanks for supporting the Nashville CWRT.

Thanks also for bidding on the books in the silent auction and to those of you who have donated items for the auction!


Fort Negley Memorial Day Program Set – Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fort Negley Park announces a Memorial Day weekend observance to honor all serving members of the U.S. Armed Forces and to commemorate those who gave the final devotion to their country. The observance will also honor those who perished building and defending the fortifications of Nashville during the Civil War including Fort Negley.

The program begins at 11 AM and continues until 1 PM on Saturday, May 26, 2012. The event is free and open to the public. Please support this wonderful event with your attendance.
For more information please call Fort Negley at (615) 862-8470.

Excellent Programs at The Franklin Civil War Roundtable Coming This Year

Our neighbors to the south, the Franklin Civil War Roundtable, have a wonderful offering of programs coming over the next few months. The CWRT meets at the Franklin Police
Department building in the community room. The meeting days are normally the second Sunday of each month and the meetings begin at 3 PM. The set speakers are:

April 15th – Dr. Brian McKnight – Champ Ferguson: Tennessee’s Perfect Guerilla (based on his current book)

June – Ruth Hill McCallister – new findings on Sam Watkins (editor of the recent version of “Co. Aytch”)

July – Dr. Michael Bradley – Forrest’s Fighting Preacher (noted Tennessee historian and author)

August – Ranger Jim Ogden – Chickamauga (historian at Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military park)

September – Kent Masterson Brown – Kentucky sentiments (noted Civil War author)

October – Dr. John Kvach – De Bow and the impending crises in the South

November – Peter Cozzens – The Cahaba Prison (noted Civil War author)

Do go and visit the Franklin CWRT when you can!

Ed Bearss To Speak To The Nashville CWRT – Monday, July 16, 2012 at the Z. Alexander Looby Theater

Due to the expected response to the program by the one and only Ed Bearss this coming July, the meeting of the Nashville Civil War Roundtable will be moved to the Z. Alexander Looby Theater for this meeting only. The theater can seat 192 people so it will be tight for seating. As this will be a fund raising event for the Nashville CWRT, there will be an admission fee for this special event. The proceeds will be going to battlefield preservation, perhaps to the proposed Tennessee monument at Richmond, KY and the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society. The fee will be determined soon and up to date Nashville CWRT members will receive the lowest rates – yet another reason to become a member!.

We are also looking to a “meet and greet” with Ed beginning at 6 P at the Looby Theater. We will discuss this at this month’s meeting in terms of the logistics, refreshments, etc. This will be a wonderful time to chat with an American living legend!

The Looby Theater is a unit of Nashville Metro Parks and we thank them very much for making this facility available to us for that evening. The theater is adjacent to the Nashville Public Library’s Looby Branch which is located at 2301 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard which is also Tennessee Hwy. 12 and US. Hwy. 41A and is at the junction of US 41A and 10th Avenue North right across from the Watkins College of Art. This is but a few miles north of the junction of this Rosa Parks and I-65 north of downtown Nashville. Stay tuned here for more information!

Richmond, KY Battlefield Wants a Tennessee Monument – Can Tennessee CWRTs Help?

Phil Seyfrit, one of our recent speakers, is asking the Tennessee Civil War Round Tables to help raise funds for a Tennessee Monument to be placed on the battlefield at Richmond,
KY. Tennessee officers who fought there include Alfred Vaughn, Preston Smith, Benjamin Hill, Tyrell Bell and Lucius Polk. The Tennessee units include: 4th Tennessee Cavalry; 2nd
(Bate’s), 12th, 13th, 35th, 47th, 48th and the 154th Senior Tennessee Infantry and Huwald’s Tennessee Battery. The Tennessee troops pierced the Union line in what is now the
Richmond Cemetery which has granted permission for such a monument.

The Nashville CWRT voted to create a “battlefield box” where members and guests can donate funds for this monument. The Nashville CWRT challenges all other Tennessee CWRTs
to do the same to commemorate Tennessee soldiers in this battle. More details for private donations to this fund are forthcoming.

Civil War Conference at Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN – April 21, 2012

Lincoln Memorial University at Harrogate, TN will host a one day Civil War conference. This is located close to historic Cumberland Gap. Speakers include moderator Dr. Charles
Hubbard (Lincoln Memorial University); Dr. Earl J. Hess (noted author, Lincoln Memorial University); Dr. John Inscoe (author and University of Georgia) and Dr. Steven Nash (East
Tennessee State University). For additional information please contact Carol Campbell 423-869-6439 or http://www.lmunet,edu/museum.html

Johnsonville State Historic Park Opens New Welcome Center – Friday, May 11, 2012

The Grand Opening of the Johnsonville State Historic Park Welcome Center will be Friday, May 11th, at 11:00 a.m. The park welcome center is located in New Johnsonville, TN. Parking will be located across the street at the Baptist Church and participants will be shuttled over to the event site. Please arrive no later than 10:30 to be sure to get a seat. Governor Haslam is scheduled to be there and light refreshments will be served.

The park is about an hour west of Nashville on US Hwy 70 at the Tennessee River. It was the site of a massive Union supply depot that was attacked in November 1864 by Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest’s destruction of the depot was probably the largest such demolition of a Union supply dump of the entire war resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in supplies. Forrest hoped that it would force Union General William T. Sherman to abandon his March to the Sea but to no avail. Johnsonville state park, along with nearby Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park on the Tennessee River, interpret this Forrest campaign. The park superintendent is Jerry Wooten, who is well known to many in the Tennessee Civil War community.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Peter Mullen on May 3, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Please contact me. I would like to be a speaker.topics “Civil War Medicine” and “Civil War Feuds”
    Sincerely, Peter Mullen – Honorable Order of kentucky Colonels
    ((04) 879-4931


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