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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Massachusetts Memorial 
Vicksburg National Military Park
Grant Avenue,Vicksburg, MS

 Photo courtesy of LCWRT Member Paul Fridell, text by Holly Jenkins-Evans

This striding bronze infantryman on a 15 ton boulder of Massachusetts granite honors 3 Massachusetts regiments of the 9th Corps of the Army of the Tennessee, the 29th, 35th Mass, 36th Infantry regiments, commanded by Lt. Col. Joseph H. Barnes and positioned on William T. Sherman’s exterior line.
The Massachusetts State Memorial is located on Grant Avenue at Grant Circle. It was the first state memorial erected within Vicksburg National Military Park. Sculpted by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson, and erected at a cost of $4500, this was the first state memorial at Vicksburg. Dedicated on November 14, 1903. Kitson was the first woman sculptor to be admitted to the National Sculptors Society and studied in Paris. She became a major artist in the early 20th century. Kitson sculpted 73 busts, bas reliefs and monuments at Vicksburg National Military Park.  

The Memorial carries the State Seal of Massachusetts and a plaque in Tribute to the 29th, 35th and 36th Regiments Volunteer infantry as well as the 9th Corps Badge. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Announcing Our 517th Meeting 
February 11, 2017

General George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel
Presented by Brian Steel Wills

Brian Steel Wills is the Director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.  He is the author of numerous works relating to the American Civil War.  His most recent publications are The River was Dyed with Blood: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Fort Pillow (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013), and George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012), which was the recipient of the 2013 Richard Barksdale Harwell Award for the best book on a Civil War topic for the year 2012 presented by the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta.
His biography of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, A Battle From the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest is currently in reprint as The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest (University Press of Kansas).  This work was chosen as both a History Book Club selection and a Book of the Month Club selection.
Dr. Wills also authored, The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia, released in October, 2001, and No Ordinary College: A History of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, (2004), both by the University Press of Virginia.  Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema appeared in 2006 with Rowman and Littlefield.  An updated edition of the James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., Civil War Sites in Virginia (Virginia) came out in 2011. 
In 2000, Dr. Wills received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of eleven recipients from all faculty members at public and private institutions across the state.

 "General George Henry Thomas: As True as Steel"
Although often counted among the Union's top five generals, George Henry Thomas has still not received his due. A Virginian who sided with the North in the Civil War, he was a more complicated commander than traditional views have allowed. Brian Wills presentation will provides a new and more complete look at the life of a man known to history as "The Rock of Chickamauga," to his troops as "Old Pap," and to General William T. Sherman as a soldier who was "as true as steel."

Thursday, February 2, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Battle of Ivy Mountain Monument
U.S. 23
Ivel, Kentucky
Photo and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore
The Battle of Ivy Mountain took place in far eastern Kentucky along the banks of the Big Sandy River on Nov. 8, 1861. The front of the monument reads:
“Here on Nov. 8, 1861, 300 men from companies A&C, 5th Kentucky Infantry C.S.A and companies B.C, & D, 1st Battalion Kentucky Mounted Rifles, C.S.A., commanded by Captain Andrew J. May fought a delaying action against four Federal Regiments, the 2nd Ohio Infantry, the 21st Ohio Infantry, the 59th Ohio Infantry, the 16th Kentucky Infantry and a section of Battery D, 1st Ohio Light Artillery, commanded by General William Bull Nelson.”  
The reverse side reads: 
“Mustered into service just two weeks earlier and armed only with shotguns and squirrel rifles, May’s Confederate mountaineers were outnumbered eight to one.  Nevertheless, they detained Nelson’s progress long enough to vacate Piketon (Pikeville) and move the main body of Confederate troops to Pound Gap. Union losses were eight killed and twenty-four wounded.  Confederate losses were ten killed and fifteen wounded.”  The monument was dedicated on Nov.10, 2001.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

American Civil War Battlefields
Illinois Monument
Orchard Knob
Chattanooga, TN
                     

 Photos and Text courtesy of Charlie Moore, LCWRT Member 
 On Monday afternoon, November 23, 1863, Union troops under the command of Gen. George Thomas formed battle lines in the open valley between the city of Chattanooga and a rocky mound to the east known as Orchard Knob.  Rebel soldiers had previously constructed rifle pits along the crest and around the base in order to assist in besieging the city.  Around 1:30 P.M. Union buglers sounded the command “forward” and approximately 14,000 troops began marching toward the Confederate positions.  Only 634 rebels held the line around Orchard Knob.  They were soon pushed back to the base of Missionary Ridge.  On November 25, Orchard Knob became Gen. Grant’s forward observation post as he watched the successful Union assault of Missionary Ridge.  Although Illinois had no troops take part in the fight for Orchard Knob, the state decided to place a monument atop of it in honor of Gen. Grant whom many Illinoisans considered a native son.  The monument was dedicated on Nov. 23, 1899.

Monday, January 23, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Ulysses S. Grant Monument 
Vicksburg National Military Park 
Photo courtesy of LCWRT Member Paul Fridell
This fine equestrian statue of Gen. Grant on Grant’s Circle at Vicksburg National Military Park, this statue commemorates one of Grant’s most important victories and is situated in the area of his headquarters.The cast iron tablets around the circle describe the historic battles of Grant's U.S. Army of the Tennessee. At an original cost of $ 34,000, it was sculpted by Frederick C. Hibbard and erected in 1919.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Elizabeth Thorn Statue
Evergreen Cemetery
Gettysburg, PA

Photos and Text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore
In 1862, Peter Thorn had enlisted in the 138th Pennsylvania and was serving in the Washington D.C. area during the battle near his home town of Gettysburg.  At the time of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, his wife Elizabeth was caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, a job normally performed by her husband.  During the battle, Elizabeth, her three sons and her parents moved out of the cemetery gate house to a safer location.  After the battle, Elizabeth and her elderly father buried 91 Union soldiers in Evergreen Cemetery.  Peter survived the war, returned home and took back his position as cemetery caretaker until he stepped down in 1874.  The statue of the six months’ pregnant Elizabeth shows her holding a shovel and wiping her forehead upon completing a burial. The statue was dedicated in 2002 as the Gettysburg Women’s Memorial to honor all of the women who served and suffered during and after the battle.