Meeting on May 15th!

May 15th, 2017 – Our 98th meeting!!  We continue our seventh year. 

The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Monday, May 15th, 2017, 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  – “Forrest’s Railroad Raid of 1864”

Throughout the summer of 1864 Confederate General Joe Johnston had been begging Richmond to send Nathan Bedford Forrest to break Sherman’s supply lines during the Atlanta campaign.  Fully aware of Forrest’s prowess as a raider, Union commander Gen. William T. Sherman had cannily arranged raids into Mississippi that kept Forrest tied down in the Magnolia State.  These culminated on the battles at Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo/Harrisburg.  In mid July, Johnston got fired, his replacement John Bell Hood was unable to hold Atlanta, and finally, after Atlanta surrendered on September 2nd, Forrest was ordered to leave Mississippi and go after Sherman’s railroads in Middle Tennessee and northern Alabama.  This is the story of that raid—highly successful at the tactical level but its subtitle could be “Two Months Late and a Division Short.”  In the end, Sherman’s strategic plan to keep Forrest off of his railroads worked.

Our speaker this month is Brig. Gen. John Scales (Ret.).  An Alabama native, General Scales attended the University of Alabama 1966-70, graduating in 1970 with a degree in physics and a commission as an infantry lieutenant in the U. S. Army. He graduated from infantry officer basic, airborne and Ranger schools before being assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. Later he led a rifle platoon in combat in Vietnam and joined the 101st Airborne upon return to the US. Leaving active duty in 1975, he joined the 20th Special Forces Group of the Alabama National Guard while getting a master’s degree at the University and becoming Special Forces qualified. Over the years, while first teaching and later working as a scientist in Huntsville, he commanded a Special Forces A Detachment, company, battalion, and the 20th itself.  He was selected for promotion to general and assignment to US Army Special Forces Command, where he was first deputy commander and later acting commander. After 9/11 he was assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command and led a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan. General Scales retired from the military in late 2002 and continued his career as a scientist in Huntsville, being granted five patents and publishing two military history books, with another scheduled to be published this summer.

Last Month’s meeting

David Deatrick, president of the Louisville CRWT, gave us a fine program on Kentucky Union General Lovell Rousseau.  He had quite the fascinating career from 1861 through war’s end.  Besides helping to keep Kentucky in the Union and training its first troops across the river in Indiana (so as to not violate the state’s declared neutrality), Rousseau also had prominent roles in several key Western Theater battles.  He also showed dexterity as a commander when he changed from commanding infantry to taking a brigade of cavalry into Alabama during the Atlanta Campaign to break the railroad from there to Atlanta.  It was the only successful Union raid of the entire campaign.  We thank David for coming to speak to us and informing us about this fascinating man.


 June 2017 – Jonathan Walsh, historian – “The Carter Family During the Battle of Franklin.”

July 2017 – Lee White, historian/author, Chickamauga-Chattannoga NMP – topic TBA

August 2017 – Tonya Staggs, historian, Traveler’s Rest – “Annie Claiborne and Traveler’s Rest During the Civil War”

September 2017 – Allen Mesch, historian/author – “General Charles F. Smith” (Based on his recent book.  Smith fought at Fort Donelson and his troops took Clarksville.)

October 2017 – Edward Semmes, historian – “Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes”

November 2017 – David Lady, historian, Tennessee Valley CWRT – “Kansas Burning: The Raid On Lawrence”

December 2017 – Jim Lewis, Chief Ranger, Stones River National Battlefield – topic TBA

January 2018 – Todd Van Beck, Nashville CWRT

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

Your dues for the 2017-2018 fiscal year will be due at the May meeting.  Please plan on paying them at that month’s meeting if you have not already.  Your dues go to bringing in our speakers, donating to causes, etc. 


 When your dues are paid you will be issued a new ame badge with the fiscal year on it.  If you do not have a name badge 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!


Fort Negley Park Area Under Development Threat

On April 28th, 2017, reporter Betsy Phillips wrote the following article in the weekly Nashville Scene paper:

Developers Propose the Desecration of Fort Negley

Shame on us if we let it happen

WKRN has a story about a proposed development around Fort Negley:

On Tuesday, we heard from a developer who has big plans for the empty property (Greer Stadium site): a multi-purpose complex called Nashville Adventure Park.”

“The proposal includes senior living, luxury apartments, townhomes, affordable housing, a farmer’s market at the stadium, artisan retail and studios, restaurants, a hotel, and a wide variety of sports offerings.”

“If you imagine the hill that the main part of the fort sits on as an egg yolk, this development would be like the egg white, seeming to completely surround the fort, except for where the Adventure Science Center sits.”

“In other words, the old Catholic Cemetery and the large City Cemetery annexes that the Union opened during the Civil War would all be gone. And, fine, they’re supposed to be empty anyway, but if I were a developer, I’d put a line in my budget for dead parts removal.”

“More disturbingly and more tragically, this development sits on the site of the contraband camp, the home of thousands of black refugees during the Civil War. As Zada Law pointed out two years ago, there’s been virtually no archaeology done at any contraband camp in Tennessee.”

“We’ve already irretrievably lost whatever was under the Adventure Science Center, but a lot remains relatively undisturbed. Even the parts under the parking lot are just under a parking lot. We have not yet screwed up a crucial bit of Nashville’s African American history, even if we haven’t bothered to explore it like we should. But if we let developers have it, then that history will be lost. Sure, some archaeologists could come in and do history triage to try to learn as much as they could before it’s torn up, but the Civil War isn’t that far down in the ground. We will lose it.”

“And frankly, how much more of our Civil War history do we have to lose? We already put I-440 on top of the Confederate line and built a city on the battlefield. One of the most important battles of the Civil War and we let Franklin and Murfreesboro be the tourist destinations while we metaphorically kick the rug over what’s left of our Civil War sites.”

“Shame on us if we let this development happen.  Shame on us if we knowingly let this history slip away.”

Here is what the proposed development looks like:


Somewhere in the middle of this monstrosity lies Fort Negley and the visitors center.  Note that the parking for the latter has not been expanded.  It has been proven time and again that history tourism brings in far more money than any other – people have more to spend, stay longer, etc. if you give them something to see and promote it so they know about it.  The traffic count for the area will explode making it even more difficult to get to the fort to visit.  Don’t believe me?  Look at what has happened at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA with the massive growth of Virginia Commonwealth University around it; their attendance has fallen off to the point that they are moving to new quarters down on the James River.

Traffic comes with big cities.  But traffic also drives people away from doing things just so they do not have to deal with it.  People spend enough time in traffic just going to and from work five days a week; they do not want to deal with it on weekends when they want to do something fun.

Ms. Phillips’ article also brings out the tremendous loss of historic ground upon which sits the fort and its surrounding area, which was all part of the fort’s footprint.  Shall Nashville follow the same mistaken path that Atlanta did many years ago by paving over its history from the Civil War?  How does this travesty being proposed in Nashville compare to what is happening just a few miles down the road in Franklin where they lead the nation in reclaiming lost Civil War land and restoring it to how it looked over 150 years ago?  It is a pathetic failure on Nashville’s part.

Like so many other cities, Nashville has lots of places that are basically blight that can be redeveloped into something like in the above drawing; places that are not historic Civil War lands.  How about moving this thing there instead and leave Fort Negley be?

If you want to help stop this development, please contact the Mayor of Nashville, Megan Berry, and the Nashville Metro City Council.  You should also contact the City of Nashville Metro Parks department and let them know how you feel about this.  The city’s web site is www.nashville.govLet them hear the voices of the Civil War community of America and stop this development.

By Greg Biggs (The above is the opinion of Greg Biggs, a member of the Nashville CWRT and not necessarily the opinion of the Nashville CWRT as a whole or the staff of Fort Negley Park, a unit of Nashville Metro City parks.)

Kennesaw State University in Georgia Announces New Seminar – June 2017

General Orders, Headquarters, Kennesaw, Ga., May 2017
Next on the power-packed schedule for 2017 are the Second Annual Vince Dooley Leadership Seminar on June 17 and the ever-popular Collector’s Showcase on July 22. In addition to the legendary coach himself, Craig Symonds highlights the program for the Dooley Seminar, with an examination of leadership exhibited during the crucial D-Day operation in the Second World War, while Dr. Wills will assess unique aspects of Civil War leadership.

Although operating through the University, the Civil War Center depends upon the generous financial contributions of friends and donors to function. We could not offer programs such as these without your support and attendance. This critical assistance builds the foundation for future activities and enables the Center to serve both students and members of the wider public community. We continue to invite you to join or re-enroll in the Kennesaw Corps Annual Membership through which members receive special discounts or admission to many of the Center’s activities. Please plan to join us at all of these events and bring friends so that they can see the enthusiasm and excitement for themselves and enjoy the educational opportunities they provide. We look forward to seeing you soon!



Kentucky Historical Society Hosts Seminar On Kentucky’s Civil War Governors – June 2017

The Kentucky Historical Society presents:

2017 Civil War Governors of Kentucky Symposium

June 8 & 9

Join us as we bring together noted historians to help chart the future of 19th century historiography in the Upper South. Faculty and graduate students will have a rare opportunity to see new trends and important research questions developing before they are in print.


Twelve prominent scholars from universities across the U.S. and Great Britain will gather to present new work from the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition and discuss the new types of analysis that this innovative digital history project will allow historians to undertake.


Sessions all day on June 8 and on the morning of June 9 in the historic Old State Capitol will feature discussions centered on new work on warfare, gender, economics, material culture, slavery and more.
Click here for more information about participants and topics.
Workshop Session on the afternoon of June 8 for teachers at all levels and public historians will collaboratively address ways to incorporate CWGK primary sources into creative and innovative classroom activities and exhibits.


Lunch & Reception included in ticket price will give guests the opportunity to interact and network with symposium participants.


The keynote speaker is Edward L. Ayres.


$25 KHS Members and Students* | $30 Others Price includes box lunch and evening reception.   Reservations required by 5 p.m., June 5.  Call 502-564-1792, ext. 4408


The Kentucky Historical Society is located at 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort KY 40601  (502) 564-1792


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