Meeting Notice and Newsletter

October 21st, 2013 – Our 55th Meeting!!
The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, October 21st, 2013, 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 Henry and Spencer Repeating Rifles in the Civil War.”

As many Civil War students know, the main infantry weapon used by both sides was the rifle-musket and a lot of older smoothbore muskets. These weapons were loaded one round at a time down the muzzle of the barrel with charges rammed home, and then after placing the percussion caps by the hammer, the weapon could be fired. Three rounds per minute was the typical rate of fire during the war.

Technology even before the war brought change through breech loading and even repeating weapons. Single shot breech loaders, with a higher rate of fire, were developed such as the Sharps and Burnside carbines. Repeating rifles, carrying from seven to sixteen rounds in internal magazines came right afterwards. The 16 shot Henry repeating rifle, forerunner of the famous post-war Winchester repeating rifle, was available as early as 1862. The Union Army turned it down for its cost, perceived waste of ammunition and, supposedly, no place to lock a bayonet; by contrast the pro-Union Home Guard of Kentucky bought them and were thus better armed than most Union Army regiments despite being state militia! The seven shot repeating Spencer rifle did have a bayonet lug but even that excellent weapon was turned down by the War Department. It took visionary soldiers like John Wilder and William S. Rosecrans of Ohio, to see the combat potential of these excellent weapons.

Wilder purchased Spencers on his own with Rosecrans’ blessing to equip his new brigade of mounted infantry. He demonstrated the devastating firepower of the rifle at Hoover’s Gap in June 1863 when his men blew away an attacking Confederate division. From this point forward, other Union units obtained Spencer rifles and, in 1864, Spencer carbines, which became favorite weapons of the cavalry arm. The Henry rifles would equip such units as the Western Sharpshooters (66th Illinois Infantry) and later the 7th Illinois and other regiments. At places like Allatoona Pass and Franklin, the firepower of the Henry rifles was a s close to a machine gun as it would get for infantry arms. The Confederates supposedly dubbed them the “guns you could load on Sunday and fire all week.”

Speaking to the Nashville CWRT this month about these weapons will be Greg Wernke. Based near Nashville, Greg works at Vanderbilt University and is a veteran of these weapons in live skirmish competitions and thus knows more about them than most people would. He writes an online blog about them that he can tell us about where he posts lots of information about them. For those that went on the Tullahoma Campaign tour in June Greg allowed attendees to fire these weapons at Hoover’s Gap. We hope you will attend this informative program.

We certainly thank last month’s speaker, Stewart Cruikshank, for his program on Union General James Negley. As part of the Army of the Ohio and the later Army of the Cumberland, General Negley was linked to Nashville. Indeed, Civil War Fort Negley bears his name today and is the largest surviving fort of its kind in the nation from that war. From his early days through the debacle at Chickamauga, we learned numerous aspects of his life. For those interested, Mr. Cruikshank’s book on General Negley is sold at Fort Negley Park in Nashville.


November 2013 – Lee Ann Newton – “The Memoirs Of Eratus Winters, 50th Ohio Infantry”
December 2013 – Michael Bradley, author/historian – “The Raiding Winter: Western Confederate Cavalry Operations in December 1862” (Based on his new book.)
January 2014 – Linda Barnickel, historian/author – “The Battle of Milliken’s Bend” (Based on her new book)
March 2014 – Antoinette Van Zelm – historian – “‘Great Excitement Up’: Women and Military Occupation in Murfreesboro During the Civil War.”
July 14, 2014 (second Monday meeting) – Conrad Laplante, Ottawa, Canada CWRT – “Canada and the American Civil War”

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 three stars on it will be available at the following meeting. If your badge does not have three stars 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!


Annual Battle of Chickamuaga Seminar In The Woods – March 7-8, 2014

Noted Chickamauga historian Dave Powell and Chick-Chatt National Military park historian Jim Ogden hold another of their annual Seminars in the Woods, a tactical tour and study of different aspects of the three day Battle of Chickamauga. The purpose of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Study Group is to create a forum to bring students of the American Civil War together to study and explore those events in the fall of 1863 that led ultimately to the creation of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park … “for the purpose of preserving and suitably marking for historical and professional military study the fields of some of the most remarkable maneuvers and most brilliant fighting in the war of the rebellion.” The tours begin on Friday, March 7 continuing on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Friday’s tours will involve a tour bus. We will be charging a small fee for use of the bus. The tours are:.

Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 – George Thomas and the XIV Corps advance to Chickamauga.
In the morning, we will explore the XIV Corps crossing of the Tennessee, visiting Shellmound, Jasper, and Trenton between roughly August 30th and September 9th; much of this exploration will also include following Rosecrans and army headquarters since Rosecrans and Thomas spent much time together during these movements
Park at the Visitor‘s Center. The bus will depart and return from there. On Friday afternoon we will cross Lookout Mountain, and follow Thomas’s corps into McLemore’s Cove and then on to Crawfish Spring, in the town of Chickamauga.

For Saturday morning: 8:30 a.m. to Noon- The tour covers where Union Gens. Baird and Brannan Engage, September 19th . This tour will be part walking and part car caravan. The tour will return to the vicinity of Jay’s Mill and Winfrey Field, to explore the developing fight on September 19th. The primary focus will be on Brannan’s engagement with Wilson’s and Ector’s Brigades of Walker’s Confederate corps, Baird’s entry into the fight, and Liddell’s counter-attack. We will meet at the visitor’s center, and then car-caravan to Jay’s Mill Road. Saturday Afternoon: 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m -.Gordon Granger and the defense of Horseshoe Ridge. The tours finish on Horseshoe Ridge, following the Union Reserve Corps onto the battlefield and describing the ensuing action. It will focus primarily on that part of Horseshoe Ridge beyond Hill 3, out to the end of the Union line. Meet at the visitor’s center, and then car-caravan to Snodgrass Hill.

Cost: Beyond the fee for Friday’s Bus, there is no cost for tour participation. Meals lodging, transportation, and incidentals, however, are the individual’s responsibility.

Tour Departures: All tours will meet at the Chickamauga Visitor’s Center at the designated start time, and will depart from there after some brief overview discussion. We will board the bus or car caravan to the designated parking area, and from there, we will be on foot. We will be on foot for up to three hours, so dress and prepare accordingly. Tours will depart rain or shine. Participants are responsible for their own transportation, and should plan accordingly. All tours are designed to be self-contained, so participants who cannot attend the full schedule are still welcome to join us for any portion of the weekend.
Lodging and Meals: Everyone is responsible for their own lodging and meals. There are many hotels in the greater Chattanooga area, to fit most any price range. The closest are in Fort Olgethorpe, Georgia, with the least expensive in Ringgold. Each tour on Saturday is designed to leave at least 90 minutes for lunch, and there are several family and fast food restaurants within minutes of the battlefield. There are designated picnic areas near the Visitor’s Center, for those who wish to bring a lunch and eat on the field.

What to bring: Each tour will involve extensive walking. Proper clothing and especially footgear is essential. Dress in layers, wear sturdy, broken-in walking shoes or boots, and be prepared for some rain, as spring can be quite wet in North Georgia. We will be walking on dirt and gravel trails, uncut fields, and through stretches of woods. The ground will be wet and muddy in places. Bring your own water and snacks. For more details go to –

Knoxville, Tennessaee Civil War 150th Events Announced

Three key events for the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in Knoxville are coming starting this month. The Fort Sanders event has passed but on November 8-10th, events will be held at Fort Dickerson, which is right across the river from Neyland Stadium. The Knoxville CWRT has contributed greatly to its preservation and interpretation. Lastly, in late November events will take place at Fort Higley. Head on over to East Tennessee and take part in these terrific events.

For more details please visit – The web site also offers a downloadable map for a Civil War walking tour of downtown Knoxville and much more. Other events being held in the area are also listed. Further information can also be obtained by calling (865) 227-6398.

Johnsonville, TN State Historic Park Announces 149th Anniversary Events – Saturday – Monday, November 2-4, 2013

Johnsonville State Historic Park, located in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, is having their 149th Anniversary celebrations for the battle of Johnsonville which took place on November 4, 1864. Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest struck the massive Union supply base on the Tennessee River on that date after capturing gunboats and transports, and ultimately destroyed millions of dollars in supplies earmarked for Gen. William T. Sherman’s army in Georgia. While a huge dent in the Union supply efforts, the raid failed to stop Sherman and his March to the Sea which began not long afterward.

Events include cannon firings, infantry encampments and guided tours of the earthworks and more inside the park by Jerry Wooten. All events are free. The new park visitors center has a wonderful museum and film telling the story of Johnsonville from Union supply base through Forrest’s raid. There is also a gift shop within the center.

For more details please visit their web site at – Johnsonville State Historic Park is located right off US Highway 70. You can get there from Interstate 40 from Exit 143/Tennessee Hwhy 13. Go north until US Hwy 70 and turn left/west. The park is about an hour from Clarksville and can be reached by taking TN Hwy 13 south from Clarksville to Waverly and then take US Hwy 70 west to the park.

Tennessee Valley CWRT Civil War Symposium – The Civil War In The Tennessee Valley Area, November 2, 2013

Join the Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table and the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library at the Huntsville, Madison County Library in Huntsville, Alabama on November 2, 2013, to explore the strategic importance of the Tennessee Valley, along with other related activities. The event begins at 9 AM and ends at 4: 30 PM. Huntsville is about 2 1/2 hours from Clarksville.

Featured Speakers and Topics: A full range of outstanding historians and authors – There will be other events and displays, including a book dealer, during the day.

• Greg Biggs – “Nashville – Siren’s Song of the Confederacy”
• Thomas Flagel – “A Landscape Transformed: Union Fortifications and the Alteration of Middle Tennessee”
• Eric Jacobsen – “The Battle of Franklin”
• J.F. (Pete) Sparks – “The Federal Occupation of North Alabama in 1862”
• Peggy Allen Towns – “Duty Driven: The Plight of North Alabama’s African Americans”

There is a single admission fee for the Featured Speaker presentations – $15 for general audience; $10 for Active Duty military personnel (ID required); $5 for students up through and including college (ID required for college students). For more information please email –

Lotz House Museum in Franklin Has Blood Drive – November 30, 2013

On the 149th Anniversary of the battle of Franklin, the Lotz House Museum with the American Red Cross, has a blood drive from 10 AM until 3 PM. “By hosting the Red Cross blood drive, it brings relevance to our everyday lives and gives us a way to participate and take action to help those in need today,” said J. T. Thompson of the Lotz House. The Lotz House is right across Columbia Road from the Carter House and was heavily involved in the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. To set up your appointment email Mr. Thompson at –


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