Friday, November 10, 2017

LCWRT 523rd Meeting
The Day the South Really Lost the Civil War
Presented by James I. Robertson Jr.
Sunday, November 19

We are once again honored to have our longtime friend and Life Member of our Round Table, James I. ‘Bud’ Robertson Jr. visit us.  He is without question one of the preeminent Civil War scholars and lecturers of our time.  So many times in the past he has enlightened our members with informative and entertaining talks.  ‘Bud’ has written and edited over 20 books and countless articles and reviews during his distinguished career.   His latest book is “CIVIL WAR ECHOES—Voices From Virginia 1860 - 1891”.  His magnificent biography of Stonewall Jackson won eight national awards and served as the basis for the movie ‘Gods and Generals’.

James I. Robertson Jr. is a native of Danville, Virginia and a great grandson of a Confederate veteran of the Army of Northern Virginia.   He received his B.A. and Litt.D. degrees from Randolph-Macon College and M.A. and PhD degrees from Emory University, where he studied under famous Civil War historian Bell Wiley. He served as Executive Director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission working with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.  He has been honored with several major awards including the 1987 Fletcher Pratt Award, the 1988 Jefferson Davis Medal and the Freeman-Nevins Award. Bud continues to speak at seminars and other venues around the country and has finished ‘A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary: J. B. Jones’ that was recently published. 

Dr. Robertson recently retired from being the Alumni Distinguished Professor in History at Virginia Tech.  Since our founding in 1961, Bud Robertson has been a frequent and favorite speaker and we welcome him back once again for what will be a very special evening.
“The Day the South Really Lost the Civil War”

For 150 years historians and Civil War Round Tables have argued when the Confederacy reached its "high water mark"--when the signal came that the South's attempt at independence was going to fail.  A host of critical points has been proposed.  Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg traditionally lead the pack. Dr. Robertson plans to examine the possibilities and offer his own nomination as the Civil War's turning point.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Gettysburg National Military Park
Monument to the 2nd,3rd,4th,5th,& 6th Vermont.

Photos and Text courtsey of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

These five Vermont Regiments made up the First Brigade, of Howe’s Division, of Sedgwick’s 6th Corps. They arrived about 5:00 P.M. on July 5th after a march of 33 miles from Manchester Md.  Upon arriving they were placed on the extreme left of the Union line with only 1 regiment, the 5th Vermont, placed on picket duty.  On the morning of July 3rd they moved a short distance and took position with their right flank on the east slope of Big Round Top and their left flank on Taneytown Road.  They remained here until the end of the battle  The brigade, under the command of Col. Lewis Grant suffered only 1 casualty, that being one man wounded by artillery fire.  The brigade came to the battle with 1916 men.  

The inscription on the monument tells the complete story of this Vermont brigades casualties during their time of service. Of the total number of 11,137 who served with the brigade over its period of service, 4,704 became casualties.  2,439 gave their lives to the Union cause: 1,128 killed and mortally wounded in action, 1,009 died of disease, died in Confederate prisons, 302.  Another 2,265 were wounded but not mortally. Gettysburg was a complete anomaly for them.

Friday, October 27, 2017

American Civil War  Sites
Fort Duffield
Ohio River
West Point , KY  

Photo and Text by LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

At the confluence of the Salt and Ohio Rivers in Hardin County, Kentucky, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, ordered the construction of a fort some 300 feet above the city of West Point to protect his supply base there and to protect Louisville from attack via the Louisville-Nashville Turnpike.  Work began on September 3, 1861 and was completed by the end of the year. Current research tells us that 48 Union soldiers died of disease there, the majority being from the 9th Michigan Infantry. This impregnable fortress was never challenged; however, its strategic location no doubt played an important role in Civil War Kentucky.

Friday, October 20, 2017

American Civil War Battlefields
The Shirley House
East of the Third Louisiana Redan
Vicksburg National Battlefield
Vicksburg, MS

Photo courtesy of LCWRT Member Paul Fridell

The home of James and Adeline Shirley, this house is the only Civil War era structure left on the Vicksburg Battlefield. During the siege of Vicksburg, this handsome home was surrounded by dug out shelters that protected Union soldiers from Confederate artillery.  While they were slave owners, the Shirleys were Union sympathizers, and their son Qunicy "joined the Union troops fighting at his doorstep fighting the Confederate troops."

From the NPS: "On May 18, 1863, as the Confederate rear guard fell back into the Vicksburg defenses, soldiers were ordered to burn all the houses in front of their works. The Shirley barns and outbuildings were quickly burned to the ground, but the soldier assigned to destroy the house was shot before he could apply the torch. 

Mrs. Shirley, her 15-year-old son Quincy, and several servants, were caught in the cross-fire as Union soldiers approached Vicksburg. Fearing for their lives, they remained in the house huddled in a chimney corner for three days before Mrs. Shirley tied a sheet to a broom handle and had it placed on the upper front porch. The frightened occupants of the 'white house' were finally removed by Union soldiers and given shelter in a cave."

 After the siege, this damaged and abandoned house was used as a smallpox quarantine hospital by Union troops.  Property of the US Government since 1900, the house has been restored to its Civil War era appearance. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

American Civil War Sites
Windsor Plantation
Mississippi Highway 552
Port Gibson, MS

Photos and Text Courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

The Windsor Mansion was begun by Smith Coffee Daniel II in 1859 and completed in 1861.  Mr Daniel died a few weeks after completion at the age of 34. Basic construction was done by slaves.  Skilled carpenters and ironworkers were brought from New England for  finishing all woodwork and iron work for stairs.  The bricks for the 29 columns supporting the structure were made at a kiln that was located on the site.  The column’s capitals and balustrades were manufactured in St. Louis and then shipped down the Mississippi to the Port of Bruinsburg, and then transported to Windsor.  The total cost of the mansion was $175.000.

During the Civil War, Windsor was used as an observation post by the Confederates, who sent flag signals from its cupola across the Mississippi to forces in Louisiana.  It was used as a Union hospital after the battle of Fort Gibson, May, 1863.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
The Henry Wirz Monument
Andersonville, Georgia
     Photo and Text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

Located outside of Andersonville National Historic Site, in the community of Andersonville, stands a lone monument, a memorial to Confederate Captain Heinrich Wirz.  Wirz served as commander of the Camp Sumter military prison for most of its 14 months of operation between 1864-65 and was later convicted of  the “war crimes” of murder and conspiracy by a Union military tribunal.  He was hanged in Washington, DC on November 10, 1865.  He was the only man convicted and executed for such crimes after the war. 

The monument, like the man for whom it is dedicated, was bathed in controversy during its conception and construction. Between 1899 and 1916 sixteen northern states dedicated monuments to the prisoners held at Andersonville.  In response to this monument building, and to honor Wirz and to vindicate his name, a site in the town of Andersonville, near the infamous prison, was chosen to honor him. Whether you believe him to be a villain, or a hero, Captain Wirz and the monument dedicated to his memory remain as reminders of a bitter and controversial time in our history.  The monument was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and dedicated May 12, 1909.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

LCWRT Announcing Our 522nd Meeting

 Friday, October 13, 2017
"Grant Invades Tennessee: Forts Henry and
Presented by Timothy B. Smith
We welcome back Tim Smith who will speak on his award-winning book, Grant Invades Tennessee: The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson.
Forts Henry and Donelson are often described as key events in the Civil War, but they have never before been analyzed to the degree Timothy B. Smith does in his award winning Grant Invades Tennessee: The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson, upon which this talk will be based. Smith offers a good dose of revisionism in examining tactical details of the fighting, the larger context of the actions, as well as the implications of the campaign. Smith will examine leadership, terrain, and consequences in this reevaluation of one of the most highly touted campaigns of the Civil War.
Timothy B. Smith, Civil War author and historian, is a native of Mississippi but now resides in Tennessee, where he teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Smith received both BA and MA degrees in history from the University of Mississippi and a PhD from Mississippi State University in 2001.  Pursuing his love of history, Smith worked for the National Park Service at the Shiloh National Military Park for seven years, where his interest in the Civil War was intensified. His main area of interest and specialty, besides the Civil War, is the history of Civil War battlefield preservation.

Tim Smith is widely regarded as the leading tour guide of the battle of Shiloh and of the siege and battle of Corinth. He is the author of a number of books including Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and Battlefield, Rethinking Shiloh: Myth and Memory, Shiloh: Conquer or Perish, The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation: The Decade of the 1890s and the Establishment of America’s First Five Military Parks, and Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation.