Saturday, January 12, 2019

American Civil War Battlefields
McPherson Farm 
Chambersburg Pike 
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 

Edward McPherson’s farm was located a half mile west of Gettysburg on the ridge that now bears his name. On the first day of the battle, July 1, 1863, it was the scene of intense fighting as Brigadier General Henry Heth’s division of Confederate soldiers attacked along the Chambersburg Pike. This position was first held by Brigadier General John Buford’s Union cavalry division who were able to hold until Major John Reynolds arrived with troops from his First Corps to relieve Buford’s men. The day ended later in a complete Confederate victory.

                                        Photo and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

The barn and farmhouse were used during and after the fighting as a field hospital for troops of both sides. After the war McPherson applied to the Federal Government for compensation for his ruined crops, damaged buildings, and supplies taken during the battle. He received nothing. He sold the farm in 1868. The farm house burned in 1895 but in 1904 the property was bought by the Federal Government. An extensive renovation of the barn was completed in 1978. The barn is currently used by a local farmer who leases the McPherson fields.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Announcing Our 534th Meeting
Saturday, January 19, 2019

Inglorious Passages 
 Presented by Brian Steel Wills 

We are pleased to welcome back to our Round Table Brian Steel Wills. He is the director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. He is the author of numerous works relating to the American Civil War, including a new volume – The River Was Dyed with Blood: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Fort Pillow. His other titles include: A Battle From the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest (reprinted as: The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest). This work was chosen as both a History Book Club selection and a Book of the Month Club selection. He also authored The War in Southeastern Virginia and No Ordinary College: A History of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, both by the University Press of Virginia. Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema appeared in 2006. And in 2012 and 2013, Brian authored George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel and Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory. In 2000, Dr. Wills received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the state of Virginia, one of eleven recipients from all faculty members at public and private institutions across the state. He was named Kenneth Asbury Professor of History and won both the Teaching award and the Research and Publication award from UVA-Wise.  

Inglorious Passages 

"Inglorious Passages received the Harwell Award at the Atlanta Civil War Roundtable for the best book of 2017, and it was a finalist for the 2017 Emerging Civil War Book Award. In my talk, I will try to shine a light on those stories of individuals that went to war and didn’t come home and try to understand the full element of what those stories involved. I think back on a Georgia recruit who’s spelling was challenged, but he would talk about the “vakants” in the ranks, and he said that those folks would not be able to rejoin the circle of friends—and he couldn’t spell “circle” either—or be around the fireside. Those places would never be filled. That made me think that those individuals need not be forgotten."

Monday, January 7, 2019

American Civil War Battlefields 
Lookout Mountain  and Brown's Ferry 
Hamilton County, TN 

View of Lookout Mountain from Browns Ferry, courtesy LCWRT Member John Davis, text by LCWRT Member Holly Jenkins-Evans

This photo neatly encapsulates two historic battlefields: Lookout Mountain, and Brown's Ferry. 

Brown's Ferry was a small action, but crucial to ending the siege of Chattanooga. On Oct 27, 1863, portions of the Union Army of the Cumberland made the move. While Brig. Gen. John B. Turchin's brigade marched to and occupied the east bank of the Tennessee river at Brown's Ferry, Union troops under the command of Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen ferried down the river, passing beneath the Confederate guns on Lookout Mountain before landing on the west side, pushing the CSA pickets back and, after engaging Col. William Oats' men , establishing a bridgehead for the Union supply line. Despite Longstreet's attack on the Union troops two days later at Wauhatchie, the supply line was established, effectively ending the siege of Chattanooga. 

One month later, resupplied and reinforced,  Gen. Ulysses Grant starts the process of breaking out of Chattanooga.  After the taking of Orchard Knob on November 23, 1863 by the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. George H. Thomas, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg took troops from the base of Lookout Mountain to shore up his center line on Missionary Ridge, thus weakening his line at the base of the Lookout. Under Grant's command, Gen. Joseph Hooker made a demonstration against the Confederate left on the 24th. On the morning of Nov. 24, with the Twelfth Corps in the lead, Hooker’s men crossed the creek and formed a line of battle up the slope of Lookout Mountain. Hidden by a heavy fog, Union troops swept in, captured a Confederate picket post, pushed past the Confederates at the Cravens House and resisted a Confederate counterattack around 1:00PM. By 2:00 PM, the Union flag was flying over Lookout Mountain.

View from Point Park at Lookout Mountain, courtesy LCWRT Member John Davis

Monday, December 24, 2018

American Civil War Monuments
Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman Monument
Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Photo and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore 

 Lloyd Tilghman was born on Jan. 18, 1816, in Rich Neck Manor, Maryland.  He enrolled at West Point at the age of 15 and graduated in 1836 at the age of 20. He resigned from the army that same year. From that time until the start of the Civil War, he worked as a railroad construction engineer in the south except for a period in which he served in the Mexican War. In 1852, he took up residence in Paducah, Ky., from where he entered Confederate service in May, 1861 with the rank of Colonel.

In February, 1862, he was put in command of Ft. Henry, located on the Tennessee River to prevent Union Naval forces from moving deeper into Confederate territory. He was later forced to surrender Fort Henry to the naval forces of Flag Officer Henry Foote and Army Brigadier General Ulysses Grant. Before the fort fell, he had wisely sent the largest portion of his forces to Fort Donelson located 12 miles to the east on the Cumberland River. 

Tilghman was captured and not exchanged until the fall of that same year. After his release, he took command of a brigade in the division of Major General William Loring.He was killed at the battle of Champion’s Hill during the Vicksburg Campaign when hit by a piece of artillery shell.He was originally buried in Vicksburg but was moved by his sons in 1902 to Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City where he wasreinterred next to his wife Augusta.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

American Civil War Monuments 
116th Pennsylvania Monument 
Sickles Avenue at the Loop 
Gettysburg National Military Park 

Photo and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

 To many visitors, the monument of the 116th Pennsylvania Infantry is the most poignant on the battlefield. The idea for the monument came from Major St. Clair Mulholland from a scene he witnessed during the fighting of July 2n of a young soldier, shot through the head, lying with a faint smile on his upturned face. Major Mulholland never forgot this scene which later was used as the inspiration for the 116th’s monument. Most of the monuments on the battlefield show themes of bravery, courage and loyalty. This one, however, shows the real cost of war. The 116th was one of five regiments which made up the highly acclaimed Irish Brigade, part of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock’s II Corps. By July 1,1863, the regiment had been consolidated into only 4 companies with a battle strength of 66. It suffered 37 casualties in the fighting of July 2, a casualty rate of 56%.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Announcing Our 533rd Meeting 
Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Trials and Tribulations of the Corpse of Abraham Lincoln
Presented by Clay Stucky 

The long and descriptive title of my talk is The Trials and Tribulations of the Corpse of Abraham Lincoln: How Nefarious Tomb Robbers and Incompetent Tomb Builders did not Allow him to Rest in Peace. In the talk I describe the bizarre history of Lincoln's body and the attempt to kidnap it, the about fifteen times it has been moved since its burial in Springfield, and the five times the coffin has been opened since the open casket funeral at Springfield. I explain the complete dismantling and rebuilding of the tomb at Springfield that has occurred TWICE! 

Photo courtesy of LCWRT Member Holly Jenkins-Evans

We are pleased to have Round Table member Clay Stuckey present our program at the December meeting. Clay is a graduate of Indiana University where he did his undergraduate work in history. He graduated from Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1975. He is now retired and lives in Bedford, Indiana. Clay has a life-long avocation of reading and writing about history. His articles have appeared in the Lincoln Herald, the Indiana Magazine of History, Indiana Folklore and Oral History, and the Hoosier Line as well as other publications. The Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis has over fifteen of Clay’s manuscripts he has written on regional history.                         

Friday, November 23, 2018

American Civil War Battlefields
Wilder Tower 
Chickamauga National Battlefield Park

Photo courtesy of LCWRT Member John Davis, 
taken  during the LCWRT 2018 Spring Field Trip 

This 85-foot tower near site of Widow Glenn's house marks the site where Colonel John Wilder's Lightning Brigade of mounted infantry with their repeating Spencer rifles and support from the 18th LiN Light Battery, made a strong defense against Longstreet's attack on Sept 20, 1863.After repelling CSA forces under Arthur Manigault, Wilder prepared to join Union forces under George Thomas on Snodgrass Hill. Instead, he was ordered by Charles Dana, Assistant Secretary of War to guard the withdrawal to Chattanooga. 

Wilder's Brigade was comprised of: 
17th Indiana, Maj. William T. Jones 
72d Indiana, Col. Abram O. Miller 
92d Illinois, Smith D. Atkins 
98th Illinois, Col. John J. Funkhouser & Lieut. Col. Edward Kitchell 
123d Illinois, Col. James Monroe 
18th Light Battery Indiana (1st Brigade), Capt. Eli Lilly 

Started in 1892, and financed for by private funds, including monies from Wilder's men, the monument was up to 60 feet high when construction was halted by bank failures due to the Panic of 1893. Construction recommenced in 1897 and went on until 1904, when the interior staircase was finished. The finished height is 85 feet. Via the interior spiral staircase, the viewing platform at the top provides a panoramic view of the battlefield. 

 On June 8, 1963, the Wilder Monument was the first monument on Chickamauga battlefield to be rededicated. It has been completely renovated.