Sunday, April 9, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Shiloh National Military Park
Shiloh, TN
  
 Photos and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore 
On April 7, 1862, the second day of fighting at Shiloh, J.D.Putnam of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteers was killed while advancing against a Mississippi Battery.  Thomas Steele, one of the burying party, suggested that Putnam be buried where he fell, in front of an oak tree.  After he was interred his name was carved into the trunk of the tree.  In 1901 the Wisconsin Shiloh Monument Commission visited the battlefield and noticed that only the stump remained, with Putnam’s name on it.  Thomas Steele, who was present, asked for the stump, and the Park Commissioners agreed.  Steele had it shipped to the G.A.R. Memorial Hall in Madison where it remained until it was destroyed in a fire in 1904.  Luckily, Steele had had the stump photographed.  The Wisconsin Monument Commission decided to reproduce it in granite and placed it on the exact spot as the original.  It was so placed on April 7, 1906 and now represents not only Putnam but his entire regiment.  Putnam’s remains were reinterred in the Shiloh National Cemetery in 1866.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

American Civil War Monuments 
Ben Hardin Helm, CSA 
South Loop, Kentucky Avenue, between Union and Confederate Avenues
Vicksburg Military Park 

Photo Courtesy of LCWRT Member Paul Fridell
At Vicksburg, there are 4 very large busts on the South Loop of Kentucky Avenue. This one, erected in 1914, at a cost of $650 for the bronze, honors Ben Hardin Helm, and might be more in place at Chickamauga, where he died Sept. 21, 1863. Here at Vicksburg, he was not actively engaged, but “near the end of the spring of 1863, Breckenridge ordered Helm to deploy the brigade to Vicksburg, Mississippi to participate in General Joseph E. Johnston's unsuccessful attempt to break the siege”. Helm is buried in the Helm Family Cemetery, Elizabethtown, KY. Today, he is mostly remembered as Abraham Lincoln’s brother-in-law. 

Plaque: 
BEN HARDIN HELM
Brig. General C.S. Army
Commanding Ken. Brigade
Breckinridge's Division
Johnston's Army
Cadet U.S. Military Academy 1847
2nd Lt. U.S. Army March 31, 1852
Resigned October 9, 1852
Col. 1st Ken. Cav. Oct. 5, 1861
Brig. Gen. C.S. Army Mar. 14, 1862
Mortally wd. in battle Sept. 20, 1863

Friday, March 31, 2017

Announcing Our 519th Meeting

“The Battle of Resaca”
Presented by Lee White
DATE: Saturday, April 8

William Lee White is a National Park Ranger at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, where he gives tours and other programs at the Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain Battlefields.

He is the author of Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamauga, part of the Emerging Civil War Series, as well as several articles and essays on topics related to the Western Theater.

He also edited Great Things Are Expected of Us: The Letters of Colonel C. Irvine Walker, 10th South Carolina Infantry CSA. Over the years, he has spoken to many roundtables, historical societies, and other history-minded groups.
 Lee White has a new book coming out this October, Let Us Die Like Men: The Battle of Franklin.
"The Battle of Resaca"

The Battle of Resaca was the largest battle and the bloodiest of the Atlanta Campaign, yet it gets less attention than other battles, it was a learning experience for the soldiers on both sides that defines the rest of the campaign.

Following his withdrawal from Rocky Face Ridge, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston established a strong defensive position protecting the Western & Atlantic Railroad at Resaca, where the railroad crossed the Oostanaula River. On the 13th, Sherman's men tested the Rebel lines to pinpoint their whereabouts. Over the next two days, Sherman launched a series of attacks against Johnston's earthworks, which were largely repulsed. Confederate counterattacks by Hood's corps failed to dislodge the Yankees, who were in full force in front of the Rebel lines. On the 15th, however, a small Federal force crossed the Oostanaula River at Lay’s Ferry, effectively flanking Johnston out of his entrenchments and forcing the Confederates to withdraw.

Monday, March 27, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
East Cavalry Field
Gettysburg National Military Park

 Photos and text by LCWRT member Charlie Moore
The Michigan Cavalry Brigade at Gettysburg consisted of the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th Michigan regiments under the command of Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer.  When Gen.Meade was given command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28th he was told he could promote those he deemed worthy without regard to their rank or time in grade.  Custer was one of 3 cavalry captains who were jumped by Meade to Brigadier General. Custer and his men were pitted against the brigade of Confederate Brigadier General Wade Hampton composed of the 1st North Carolina and the 1st and 2nd South Carolina cavalry regiments. This is where the Custer legend began, when he rode to the front of his brigade and shouted out “Come on you Wolverines!”.  He always led from the front and his men loved him for it. This cavalry battle was pretty much a draw but it did stymie the Confederate plans to hit the Army of the Potomac in the rear while the Pickett, Pettigrew, Trimble charge took place along Cemetery Ridge. The monument was erected in 1889 and is topped with a statue of BG Custer, and there is also a plaque on one side of the monument with a likeness of him.  Though he had met his end at Little Big Horn 13 years earlier, his Civil War troopers still loved and respected his memory.

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.