January Meeting & Newsletter

January 16th, 2018 – Our 106th meeting!!  We continue our seventh year.  We now meet on the THIRD TUESDAY of each month!


The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on TUESDAY, January 16th, 2018, 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  – “They Changed Everything: Civil War Embalming Surgeons.”


The number of deaths, from combat and disease, in the American Civil War was staggering.  The nation never expected this when the war began in 1861.  The sheer numbers of dead, and even more wounded, forced both sides to deal with medical issues like never before.  War often brings about big technological and other changes and this war was no exception.

Ever heard of the names Holmes, Bunnell, Prunk, Brown & Alexander, Hutton, Scollay, Buchley, Plant?  Actually the list could go on further.  These men represent just a small example of the individuals who served as embalming surgeons during the Civil War.  This was tough work, and over time embalming surgeons have been either assailed as con artists or saints.  There is not much middle ground here.  However both assessments, as with most sweeping historical assessments miss the truth.  There is a great usually untold story about the mission, activities, and long lasting results for American culture which has lasted to this very day because of the work of these individuals.  Make no mistake the embalming surgeons in the Civil War changed the way American’s cared for their dead permanently.  Their story needs to be told, and this presentation is a humble attempt to do just that.

Our speaker this month is Todd Van Beck of Nashville.  Mr. Van Beck has been in funeral service and bereavement care and church lay ministry for over 48 years.  He began his mortuary career in Omaha, NE and over the years he has been involved with a variety of funeral/embalming/educational and operational activities touching most areas of this vocation.

Mr. Van Beck is an author and speaker on a wide variety of topics from funeral customs and practices, burial and cremation history, operational business practices to counseling and dealing with grief.  He has lectured internationally from New Zealand to Germany.

Originally from Iowa, he was not born into a funeral services family.  At age five he decided he wanted to be a funeral services director. To that end he holds an honorary doctorate degree from the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service; a Master’s Degree in Religion from Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary; a Bachelors of Arts from Mt. Mercy University and a professional diploma in funeral service arts and sciences from New England Institute in Boston.  He has received several honors from the funeral and embalming industry over his career.  He has had long service in the funeral home industry, embalming, hospice care and academic institutions where he continues to serve.

We hope you will make a point to attend this unique and interesting program on a medical aspect of the Civil War.  In other words – do NOT miss this meeting.  It is informative and actually very entertaining!

Last Month’s meeting


Last month’s program by Jim Lewis, Chief Ranger at Stones River National Battlefield, was one of the best this CWRT has ever had.  Focusing on the life and transformation of William Holland, who is buried right next to the Stones River National Cemetery, Jim detailed his life as a slave, who escaped the plantation where he was held and got to the Union lines.  There he, like so many other escaped and liberated slaves, went to work for the Union Army.  With the raising of the United States Colored Troops regiments, Holland joined up serving in the 111th USCT.  After being mustered out in 1865, Holland, looking for work, signed on with the crew building the Union cemetery at Stones River.  These men brought buried Union soldiers from Alabama to Kentucky and around Middle Tennessee and reburied them.  Finally earning enough money to buy some property, Holland built his house, married and raised a family.  After his passing, Holland was buried right next to what is now Stones River National Cemetery which is next to the land that he owned and the site at which he worked.  The transformation from being born as property into being a property owner is an American tale told brilliantly by Jim Lewis.  We hope to have him back again very soon.



February 2018 – Myers Brown, author/historian – “Equipping the Confederate Cavalryman”

March 2018 – Larry Krumenaker, author/historian – “Walking The Line: The Civil War Defenses of Atlanta”


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 name 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 Second Saturday Guided Tours

Join the staff at Fort Negley the second Saturday of each month at 2 pm to learn about the 90 year story of Fort Negley Park including the 155 year-old historic Fort Negley. Join us for the one mile guided walking tour led by a staff historian. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.  This is a wonderful chance to learn about the history of the fort as well as its construction – and the view of downtown Nashville is amazing!

Stones River Battlefield Tour with the Knoxville CWRT – Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Please join the members of the Knoxville CWRT on Saturday, January 20th, 2018, as we visit the Stones River National Battlefield to learn about the battle and the men who fought it. We are lucky to have as our guide Jim Lewis. Jim, who was last with us in January of 2017 to talk about Hell’s Half Acre, a portion of the battlefield, has been a park ranger and de-facto historian at Stones River National Battlefield since 1997.  Jim spoke at the Nashville CRWT last month.

This will be an all-day event come rain or shine. The tour will begin at 9:30 AM (CST) at the Stones River Visitors Center and will end after 5 PM (CST). Please dress appropriately for the weather, which could be very cold, and wear comfortable walking shoes.

We will meet at the Stones River Visitor Center a little after 9 AM. People will have the opportunity to use the bathrooms at the Visitor Center and will have some time to look through the park museum prior to starting the tour. We will have a one hour break for lunch and will restart the tour immediately after the hour. We suggest bringing snacks and drinks and strongly suggest bringing a packed lunch to avoid delays that have occurred on past tours.

We currently have 28 people who have signed up for the tour. If you plan to go and have not yet responded, please email me njwilliams85@gmail.com or Norman Shaw shawclan4@bellsouth.net so that we can add your name to the list. Should you need to cancel after signing up, please let Norman or me know as soon as possible.

Fort Donelson National Battlefield Anniversary Events – February 2018

The fine folks at Fort Donelson will celebrate the 156th Anniversary of the Forts Henry and Donelson Campaign – one of the most critical Union victories of the war as it opened up both the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers to invasion.  U.S. Grant’s victory sealed the fates of Clarksville and Nashville, the first Confederate state capitol to fall.  The programs are as follows:

Interpretive Walk at Fort Heiman, February 3, 2:00 p.m.

Fort Heiman Pavilion, 682 Fort Heiman Road, New Concord, KY Larry Ray, historian and author


Interpretive Hike at Fort Donelson, February 14, 11:00 a.m.

Tour Stop #3 Park Ranger Susan Hawkins


The African American Story at Fort Donelson Caravan Tour, February 15, 2:30 p.m.

Tour Stop #3 Park Ranger Susan Hawkins


“A Surrender Most Disgraceful,” February 16, 11:30 a.m.

Tour Stop #10 Jim Jobe, retired NPS Historian


Galvanized Yankees – Confederate POWs Who Joined the Union Army, February 16, 1:00 p.m.

Stewart County Visitor Center Dr. Michele Butts, Professor of History, Austin Peay State University


The Gunboats at Fort Donelson, February 16, 2:15 p.m.

Tour Stop #4 Jim Jobe, retired NPS Historian


Everything You Need to Know about Ironclad Gunboats: Construction & Weaponry

February 16, 3:15 p.m.  Tour Stop #4 Kendall Gott, Historian


Battlefield Caravan Tour, February 17, 9:00 a.m.

Stewart County Visitor Center with Kendall Gott, Historian


Fort Donelson Soldiers in Camp, February 17, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Tour Stop #3   Volunteer Reenactors


Infantry and Artillery Demonstrations, February 17, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00

Main Park Entrance, 120 Fort Donelson Park Road, Dover, TN 9th KY Volunteer Infantry (USA)


Encampment of the Ninth KY Infantry, February 18, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Main Park Entrance 9th KY Volunteer Infantry

The Fort Donelson Visitors Center is being renovated at their current park center is across Highway 79 at the Stewart County Visitors Center on the left side of the road.  Fort Heiman is well west of there and north of Highway 79 in Kentucky after crossing the Tennessee River.  The park has done a fine job of interpretation and the view of where Fort Henry was is amazing if you have not been there before.  Kendall Gott wrote the book, Where The South Lost the Civil War on the Henry-Donelson campaign and he is a staff historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS.  The tour stop numbers can be found on the parks map brochure.

The best way to get to Fort Donelson from Nashville is head west on I-24 to Exit 8 – US Hwy 79.  Get off and turn left.  Take this to 101st Airborne Parkway – TN Hwy 374 – head west.  Stay on this until it ends at US Hwy 79.  Turn right and stay on this into Dover.  It is 45 minutes from Clarksville to Dover and Fort Donelson.  Be sure to check the weather and dress accordingly.

Dalton, GA Civil War Show and Symposium – February 3-4, 2018 – NW Georgia Trade Center

The next Civil War show will be held at the NW Georgia Trade Center on the slopes of historic Rocky Face Ridge in Dalton, GA on Saturday and Sunday, February 3-4, 2018.  A smaller show than Franklin but with most of the same dealers, this show is only 3 hours from Middle Tennessee – and you can make it a weekend and tour some of Dalton’s many Civil War sites for the Atlanta Campaign.

Civil War News has taken over the Saturday (Feb. 3rd) symposium from local historian John Fowler that runs on the first day only of the show.  The program runs from 10 AM to 1:30 PM and features the following historians:

Gould Hagler – Atlanta based author/historian – My Favorite Confederate Monuments in Georgia and Alabama

Salvatore Cilella – Atlanta based author/historian – The Graphic War: Collecting Civil War Prints for Fun and Profit

Michael Shaffer – historian/author – Washington County, Virginia in the Civil War

Steve Davis – historian/author – Gen. John Bell Hood’s Efforts to Defend Atlanta, July 18-Sept. 1, 1864

The speakers will have their books for sale at the event.  Admission is included with the Civil War show admission.

The event is located at Exit 333 off I-75, Walnut Avenue.  Turn right and head up the slope a bit.  Dug Gap Battlefield Park is a little further uphill from there is you wish to visit that.


Chickamauga Seminar in the Woods, 2018 by award winning author/historian Dave Powell


Every March for about the past fifteen years, I have been organizing a two-day, in-depth battlefield tour of Chickamauga and surrounding battlefields. With that in mind…

Spring is coming!  For those interested, here are the details for the March 2018 Resaca & Chickamauga tour:


CCNMP Study Group 2018 Seminar in the Woods. Mission Statement: 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 & Chattanooga National Military Park, as well as explore other nearby Civil War-related sites.


Tour Leaders:  Jim Ogden, CCNMP historian, and Dave Powell



Date: Friday, March 9, and Saturday, March 10, 2018; By bus and car caravan.  All tours begin and end at the Visitor’s Center, CCNMP.


By Bus:


Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00: Battle of Resaca, May 14 – 15, 1864


On Friday we will finish our exploration of the Battle of Resaca, spending time on the area east of Camp Creek Valley (east of I-75) and the retreat from Resaca.


Friday evening, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Q&A Panel with Jim Ogden, Dave Powell, and Lee White.  Site: Constitution Hall, 201 Forrest Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA


Third annual open-forum question and answer period with Park Rangers Jim Ogden and Lee White.


Car Caravan – Saturday Morning, 8:30 to Noon: Heg Attacks!


 On Saturday morning, we will explore the attack of Col. Hans Heg’s brigade of Federal Infantry, sent into the woods just north of Viniard Field in order to strike the flank of those Confederates then fighting in the area of Brock Field. Instead Heg’s four regiments ran headlong into Bushrod Johnson’s Division of Hood’s Corps. A long afternoon of deadly, see-saw fighting ensued.


Car Caravan – Saturday Afternoon, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Abandoned on Horseshoe Ridge.


On Saturday afternoon, we will revisit one of the most famous stories of Chickamauga; the plight of the 21st Ohio, 22nd Michigan, and 89th Ohio. Essentially abandoned on Horseshoe Ridge, these three regiments ended up captured as two Confederate infantry brigades closed in on their position.




Friday’s Tours will be via tour bus. Pre-registration and Fee required: $45, due by February 1, 2018.  Sign-up after February 1 or on-site Fee (based on space available): $50


Saturday: no charge.


Fees raised in excess of our costs (as well as any donations) will be used to support the causes of battlefield preservation, interpretation, and renovation.


 In 2017 the Study Group donated $500 to the Civil War Trust, helping to preserve battlefield land at Brown’s Ferry and Reed’s Bridge; and $500 to the Jewell Monument fund, run by the Friends of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, for maintenance and restoration needs.


Send to (and make checks payable to):

David Powell

522 Cheyenne Drive

Lake in the Hills, IL 60156


Please also note that this fee is NON-REFUNDABLE after February 1st, 2018. Once we are committed to the bus, we will be charged the booking fee, no matter what.  Please note that everyone is responsible for their own lodging, meals, snacks and incidentals.

And If You Cannot Make That Chickamauga Tour Then Support The Kenosha Civil War Museum On Their Full Chickamauga Tour In October, 2018

The Civil War Museum 2018 Chickamauga/Chattanooga Tour – Guide is Dave Powell


TOUR DATES – Sunday, October 21, to Wednesday, October 24, 2018


COST OF THE TOUR – Early Bird Registration Prior to April 13, 2018

Museum Members $655 per person double occupancy

Museum Members $865 per person single occupancy

Non-Members $700 per person double occupancy

Non-Members $910 per person single occupancy

Registration After April 13, 2018

Museum Members $705 per person double occupancy

Museum Members $915 per person single occupancy

Non-Members $750 per person double occupancy

Non-Members $960 per person single occupancy


TOUR COST INCLUDES Hotel stay for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights; all lunches and dinners; all motor coach services, Tour Guides, admissions, evening programs. A cash-bar is available Monday and Tuesday dinners. All breakfasts are on-your-own (the hotel offers a

complimentary breakfast.)


TOUR BASE HOTEL – Hampton Inn, Ringgold, Georgia, 6875 Battlefield Parkway, Ringgold, Georgia, 30736, 706-935-4800


TRANSPORTATION – Attendees are responsible for their own transportation from their homes to the base hotel. Flights can be arranged through Chattanooga International Airport. Ground transportation from the airport must be arranged on your own.


ROOMMATES – Indicate the name of the person with whom you wish to share a room. If you would like help in finding a roommate, please let the museum know at registration and we will attempt to find you a roommate. If a roommate cannot be found, the single occupancy rate must be paid.


MAKING RESERVATIONS – Reservations for the trip can be made by mail, in person, or by phone at 262-653-4140 with a credit card.


CANCELLATIONS – A full refund will only be issued for a space canceled by September 7, 2018, or if the trip is canceled. A refund will be issued after that date only if a suitable replacement can be found for the canceled space.


2018 Chickamauga/Chattanooga Tour Itinerary



Sunday, October 21

3:00 – 6:00PM Check In at the Hampton Inn, 6875 Battlefield Parkway, Ringgold


6:00 – 7:00PM Welcome Dinner at the Hampton Inn Ball Room

7:00 – 8:00PM Dinner Program


Monday, October 22 Breakfast at the Hotel or On Your Own

8:30AM Load Bus

8:30 – 12:00PM Tour Chattanooga, TN, Civil War sites with Dave Powell

12:00 – 1:00PM Lunch at Sugar’s Ribs, Chattanooga

1:00 – 5:00PM Tour Chattanooga, TN, Civil War sites with Dave Powell

5:30 – 7:00PM Dinner at Mt. Vernon Restaurant, Chattanooga


Tuesday, October 23 Breakfast at the Hotel or On Your Own

8:30AM Load Bus

8:30 – 12:00PM Tour Chickamauga National Battlefield with Dave Powell

12:00 – 1:00PM Lunch at Park Place Restaurant

1:00 – 4:30PM Tour Chickamauga National Battlefield with Dave Powell

5:30 – 7:00PM Dinner at El Matador Restaurant


Wednesday, October 24 Breakfast at the Hotel or On Your Own and Check Out

8:30AM Load Bus

8:30 – 12:00PM Tour Chickamauga National Battlefield with Dave Powell

12:00 – 1:00PM Box Lunch on Battlefield

1:00 – 3:30PM Tour Chickamauga National Battlefield with Dave Powell

3:30PM Return to Hotel


Hotel Location:

Hampton Inn Ringgold Georgia

6875 Battlefield Parkway

Ringgold, GA 30736



For more information please email Doug Dammann, Kenosha Civil War Museum at – ddammann@kenosha.org


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