Saturday, January 13, 2018

Announcing Our 525th Meeting
The Twenty-Second Annual Frank G. Rankin Memorial Lecture
DATE: Saturday, January 20                       
PROGRAM: 8:00 P.M.

  “Barren Victory: Who Won the Battle of Chickamauga?”

Presented by David A. Powell

As the sun rose over the battlefield of Chickamauga on September 21, 1863, the Confederate Army of Tennessee discovered that it had won a great – if costly – victory. It was the first such clear-cut success ever achieved by that army, after the bitter disappointments of Shiloh, Perryville, and Murfreesboro. But as the days passed, that triumph appeared less and less substantial.  And, despite having left the field to their foe, the Union Army of the Cumberland did not feel they had lost. Despite tactical disaster, they still held the objective of the campaign: Chattanooga. So who were the real winners and losers of Chickamauga? 

Historian and author David A. Powell returns to the Round Table and just in time to speak on the Battle of Chickamauga, our 2018 Spring Field Trip destination. David Powell is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (1983) with a BA in history. He has published numerous articles in various magazines, and more than fifteen historical simulations of different battles.

For the past decade, David’s focus has been on the epic battle of Chickamauga, and he is nationally recognized for his tours of that important battlefield. The result of that study are the volumes, The Maps of Chickamauga (2009), Failure in the Saddle (2010), and the three volumes of a Chickamauga trilogy. The Chickamauga Campaign: A Mad Irregular Battle was published in 2014, The Chickamauga Campaign: Glory or the Grave appeared in 2015; and the final volume, The Chickamauga Campaign: Barren Victory, was published in 2016.  He is also a contributor to the Emerging Civil War blog.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

American Civil War Battlefields
Burnside Bridge
Antietam National Battlefield
Sharpsburg, MD

Photo Courtesy of LCWRT Member Paul Fridell

One of the serenest spots today on a Civil War Battlefield, Burnside Bridge built in 1836, was originally known as Lower Bridge or Rohrbach's Bridge.  Sept. 17, 1862, Antietam Creek was the site where Maj. General Ambrose Burnside’s Union Ninth Corps attempted to move forward across the creek, where the difficulties of the terrain and a small but dedicated Confederate force offset Burnside's numerical advantage. It took 3 hours to capture the crossing and another 2 hours to cross and begin the last attack on the Confederate right flank Confederate reinforcements arrived and counter attacked. 

Unions casualties were more than 500 Union troops had been killed or wounded.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Irish Brigade Monument
Sickle’s Avenue
Gettysburg National Military Park

Text and Photo courtesy of  LCWRT Member Charlie Moore   

     The Irish Brigade, originally organized by Thomas Francis Meagher, was led at Gettysburg by Colonel Patrick Kelly.  The brigade was made up of 5 regiments: the 28th Massachusetts, 63rd New York, 69th New York, 88th New York, and the 116th Pennsylvania. The brigade had been shattered at both Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville and arrived on the battlefield at Gettysburg with only 532 men in the entire brigade. 224 of these men were in the 28th Massachusetts. The other four regiments averaged only 75 men each.

      On the afternoon of July 2, 1863, the Irish Brigade and 3 other brigades of Brigadier General John C. Caldwell’s Division of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock's 2nd Corps charged across the Wheat Field and momentarily pushed out the Confederate troops who had taken possession of it.  Caldwell’s Division was shortly forced to retreat after being hit by heavy Confederate reinforcements.  The Irish Brigade suffered 221 casualties during their brief encounter at the Wheat Field, or 40.5%.  The monument was dedicated on July 2, 1888, the 25th anniversary of the battle. At the base lies a life size Irish Wolfhound in bronze, representing faith and devotion.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Saturday, December 9  
Announcing Our 524th Meeting
The Spirit of Henry Clay and Kentucky in the Civil War

 Presented by James C. Klotter
The Spirit of Henry Clay and Kentucky in the Civil War

            Henry Clay was known as 'The Great Compromiser.' But he had been dead for almost a decade by the time the Civil War started and compromise after compromise failed to keep the conflict from starting. But Clay's lingering influence lived on long after his death and it would still prove crucial in shaping Kentucky's course during the conflict, and, by extension, the nation's future. In this talk, the State Historian of Kentucky brings to bear the work he has done for a study of Clay that will be published next year by Oxford University Press.
            We are glad to welcome back a distinguished historian and author, James C. Klotter.  James is a native Kentuckian, and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of almost twenty prize-winning books, including the standard works on Kentucky used at the elementary, secondary, and college level. Among his books are:  William Goebel: The Politics of Wrath; A New History of Kentucky; Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox, 1900-1950; and Kentucky Justice, Southern Honor, and American Manhood (which won the Governors’ Award in 2007 for the best book on Kentucky history published over the past four years).
                Most recently, he coedited Kentucky Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852. Dr. Klotter’s study of Henry Clay and the American presidency will appear early next year from Oxford University Press.

                Jim Klotter was the Executive Director of the Kentucky Historical Society for many years. He currently serves as Professor of History at Georgetown College and is the State Historian of Kentucky.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Amercian Civil War Monuments
1st and 3rd Mississippi Infantry, African Descent Monument
Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi
Dedicated February, 14, 2004

Photos and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

The newest monument at the Vicksburg National Military Park honors former slaves from both Mississippi who served as soldiers in the Union Army.  The monument depicts two black men, one a soldier and the other a slave helping a wounded black soldier.  The monument depicts the slave looking back on the institution of slavery.  The wounded soldier represents the sacrifice for freedom, and the soldier with the rifle depicts the slaves’ fight for freedom.  More than 180,000 blacks served in the Union army while many others served in the Union navy.   Over one-third of the African –Americans who served in the army lost their lives during the Civil War, most from disease.

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.