Wednesday, March 15, 2017

 American Civil War Monuments
11th Pennsylvania 
Gettysburg National Military Park
Doubleday Ave.

Photos and Text by LCWRT Member Charlie Moore
The 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers were presented with a Bull Terrier puppy soon after they were mustered into the Federal forces.  She was named “Sallie” after one of the more attractive young ladies who watched them train.  Her first battle was at Cedar Mountain in the spring of l862.  She also “fought” at Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.  Her “fighting” consisted of running around and barking at the enemy and lending moral support to her fellow soldiers. She was with her regiment on the first day of Gettysburg as they fought on Oak Ridge.  When the 11th was pushed back through  town Sallie remained on the battlefield watching faithfully over her dead and wounded friends.  When the battle was over on the 4th of July members of the 11th returned to the area and found her waiting for them,thirsty, tired and hungry.  Sallie remained with the 11th until she was killed while “fighting” during the battle of Hatcher’s Run in February of 1864. She didn’t get a medal, but she was richly honored by her soldier friends by being put on their monument.  Good dog Sallie!

Friday, March 10, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Providence Spring House
Andersonville National Historic Site
Andersonville, Georgia

Photos and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore
In the summer of 1864, tens of thousands of Union prisoners of war were suffering from disease and thirst at the Confederate military prison in Andersonville, Georgia.  On August 8th, a five day period of rain began which ended in extremely violent thunderstorms.  Stockade Creek, which ran down the middle of the camp and was its only source of water, overflowed its banks carrying away large quantities of accumulated filth with its strong current.  A spring suddenly appeared within the stockade to give the men their first taste of cool, clean drinking water since their entry into the camp.  Before, they had to rely on the highly polluted waters of Stockade Creek and then only where it entered the camp.  Many of the men believed that the spring was the result of “divine intervention”. The spring was enclosed within a large stone shelter by Union veteran groups in 1901.  Providence Spring can be found on a slope below the reconstructed walls of the prison.  Of the 45,000 men incarcerated at Andersonville, more than 13,000 died.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Announcing our 518th Meeting
 “The Confederate Kardashian-Loreta Velasquez,  Rebel Media Celebrity and Con Artist”
Presented by William C. Davis
DATE: Friday, March 17  

We welcome back longtime friend of our Round Table, William C. “Jack” Davis.  He is one of the great Civil War historians of our time and as anyone who has heard him can testify, he is a great speaker.  He is a native of Independence, Missouri and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sonoma State University in northern California. He then spent twenty years in editorial management in the magazine and book publishing industry before leaving in 1990 to spend the next decade working as a writer and consultant here and abroad.

He is the author or editor of more than fifty books in the fields of Civil War and Southern history, as well as numerous documentary screenplays.  He was the on-camera senior consultant for 52 episodes of the Arts & Entertainment Network/History Channel series “Civil War Journal,” as well as a number of other productions on commercial and Public Television, as well as for the BBC, and has acted as historical consultant for several television and film productions, including “The Blue and the Gray,” “George Washington,” and “The Perfect Tribute.” 

In September 2013 he retired after thirteen years as Professor of History and Executive Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  He is a three-time winner of the Jefferson Davis Award given for book-length works in Confederate History. His biography of John C. Breckinridge was nominated for a Pulitzer prize.  One of his most recent books is Crucible of Command: US Grant and R E Lee, The War They Fought and the Peace they Forged and we will have this at the March meeting.

His book The Battle of New Market is the basis of the motion picture Field of Lost Shoes.  He served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and serves on several other consultative bodies, as well as being an occasional consultant to the Virginia State Police on cold case homicides.

"The Confederate Kardashian:  Loreta Velasquez, Media Celebrity, Con Artist, and the Making of a Confederate Myth."
We live in an era of self-created "media celebrities," but what we may not know is that this is not a new phenomenon.  Only the media have changed, but the process is unchanged since the Civil War.  One of the very first such people was a Confederate woman whose real name we may never know, but who cleverly manipulated the newspaper press to make herself the Confederacy's first and perhaps only true media celebrity.  Moreover, this woman--known to history as Loreta Velasquez though she used several names--wrote a book The Woman in Battle that continues to have influence today, even though it is almost entirely fictional in its account of her posing as a man, Lieutenant Harry Buford, to serve the Confederacy in combat, as a spy, blockade runner, and more.  The story of how a woman who was a teenaged New Orleans prostitute in 1860 turned herself into the equivalent of a 20th century movie star is fascinating, and that is only the beginning of a story that would take her well into the next century pursuing one scam after another.

Friday, March 3, 2017

American Civil War Battlefields
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Olustee, Florida

                               Photos and text courtesy of  LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

This small park commemorates the site of Florida’s largest Civil War battle, which took place February 20, 1864.  More than 10,000 cavalry, infantry and artillery troops fought a five-hour battle in a pine forest near Olustee. Olustee is located in northern Florida, halfway between Lake City and Jacksonville. Three Regiments of U.S. Colored Troops took part in the battle, including the 54th Massachusetts which was subject of the movie “Glory”.  The battle ended with 2,897 casualties and the retreat of Union troops to Jacksonville where they remained until the end of the war.       

Monday, February 27, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Missouri State Memorial 
Vicksburg National Military Park
Confederate Avenue
Vicksburg, MS

Photo Courtesy of LCWRT Member Paul Fridell

This elegant monument stands 42 feet high to symbolize the 42 Missouri units (27 Union and 15 Confederate) that fought at Vicksburg. It stands between the lines at Stockade Redan where Missouri troops opposed each other. 
The bronze figure, "The Spirit of the Republic," separates bronze reliefs depicting Union and Confederate soldiers. The sculptor was Victor S. Holm of St. Louis. Missouri, a native of Denmark. At a cost of $40,000, it was built and dedicated on October 17, 1917. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

American Civil War Battlefields
Sach’s Covered Bridge
Pumping Station Road
Adams County, PA

Photos and Text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

The 100-foot-long Sachs Covered Bridge was completed in 1854 at a cost of $1,544.  It crosses Marsh Creek approximately 1 mile west of the Peach Orchard on the southern end of the battlefield at Gettysburg.  On the battlefield, Pumping Station Road becomes Millerstown Rd, and then Wheatfield Road. During the Civil War the bridge was used by both the Union and Confederate Armies.  On the morning of July 1, the first day of the battle it was used by two Union brigades of the First Corps, under the command of Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday.  These two brigades were rushing to aid  Brig. Gen. John Buford and his cavalry troops who were trying to keep the Confederates from taking the high ground south of town.  Late that evening and early the next morning, the Union III Corps under the command of Brig. Gen. Daniel Sickles, used the bridge to arrive at his designated position on Cemetery Ridge on the south end of the battlefield.  After the battle, the majority of the defeated army of Lt. Gen. Robert E. Lee used the bridge during their retreat to the south.  In 1938, it was voted Pennsylvania’s “most historic bridge”. In 1968, it was decided to close the bridge to vehicular traffic while leaving it open to pedestrians.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Kentucky State Monument
Chickamauga National Military Park, TN
Dedicated May, 1899            
Photos and Text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore
For Kentucky erecting a monument on the battlefield of Chickamauga was a delicate undertaking because the state had soldiers fighting on both sides during the battle.  Kentucky formed a commission in 1893 to locate battle positions, but the task of erecting a monument was not fulfilled until 1899.  The commission explained that it was the state’s intention to honor both sides trying not to offend either one.  Most of the monuments on the battlefield celebrated the heroic nature of soldiers with a granite soldier ready for battle or carrying a flag.  Kentucky chose to forgo the classic soldier, choosing instead, the image of Bellona, the Roman goddess of war.  They placed her upon a round sphere with four cannons pointing outward, and placed in her hand a sword pointing skyward.  Both the American and the Confederate flags are seen on the monument as are both a Union and Confederate shield.  To further capture the idea of unity the commission included the state shield with the two sides shaking hands.