The 2010 - 2011 Louisville Civil War Round Table season will start soon on Sept. 11, 2010 with our speaker Greg Mertz presenting “The Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse: Determining the Intent of the Enemy". Greg is already well known to member of the LCWRT as our Spring tour guide at both Chancellorsville in 2009 and The Wilderness/Spotsylvania Courthouse in 2000.
Greg Mertz was born and raised near St. Louis, Missouri and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri, and a master’s degree from Shippensburg University. He began his National Park Service career at Gettysburg National Military Park and obtained his first permanent job at the Eisenhower National Historic Site. For the last 26 years he has been at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park where he currently serves as the Supervisory Historian at Fredericksburg, selecting and training the permanent, seasonal, intern and volunteer employees that provide visitor services in the park. He has written four feature articles for Blue and Gray Magazine on the Battle of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. He is the 2002 recipient of the Jefferson Davis medal from the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House -- Determining the Intent of the Enemy
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was fought from May 8 to 21, 1864 and was the second battle in the Fredericksburg area between Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Though Union forces had been in the Fredericksburg vicinity for more than two years by that point, they had never penetrated so far into Spotsylvania County, so were in unfamiliar territory, and were further hampered by inaccurate maps. Learning about new territory, as well as keeping track of enemy movements and positions fell primarily to the cavalry. But through an interesting set of circumstances, Grant sent virtually all of his cavalry away on the second day of the battle. Lee had little choice but to dispatch a significant part of his own cavalry to counter the Union horsemen. This left both armies without their “eyes and ears.” One way of looking at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House is through the distorted lenses of the army commanders and how they sought to determine just what the other army was up to. We will see both commanders make some very logical conclusions regarding the enemy intent, only to find that though reasonable, they were wrong. Join us as we examine this battle by comparing what the generals thought was happening, with the actual situation.
A Message from Our New President: “Fifty Glorious Years”
Fifty years ago I was eleven years old living in Mattoon, Illinois about to start seventh grade with no interest in History of any type let alone The Civil War. College level History was my first introduction to the Civil War and from that point on I was hooked. I had wanted to join the Louisville Civil War Round Table since learning about it in the early 1980’s from a fellow physician, but as life goes I got around to joining in the fall of 1999. I went on my first field trip to Shiloh Battlefield a year later and I was besieged with information and loved it.
I am honored to be serving my second term as President of this prestigious organization as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary. As always this year’s list of speakers will more than fit the occasion, with James “Bud” Robertson marking the Birthday Celebration with what we know will be a first rate presentation.
The field trip this year will be to the “High Water” mark of the conflict Gettysburg, Pa. It promises to be a memorial event for all who choose to go.
There are plans to promote this special year of The Louisville Civil War Round Table through the local print media requesting a special article close to the date of the our Golden Anniversary.
The Civil War Round Table of Louisville is turning fifty and to mark that event we are requesting the sage and wise of all ages to contribute to our list of the “50” must read books to understand the event known as the “Civil War”.
Art Boerner, President
2010 – 2011 Meeting Dates
Saturday September 11 Greg Mertz “Spotsylvania Courthouse”
Saturday October 9 Richard McMurry “General Joe Johnston”
Saturday November 13 Thomas Mays “Cumberland Blood: Champ Ferguson”
Saturday December 4 Gary Matthews “Odyssey of a Border State: Antebellum Kentucky During the Sectional Crisis, 1845-1860 ”
Saturday January 22 Bud Robertson “TBA”
Saturday February 12 Ed Bearss “TBA”
Saturday March 12 George Rable “TBA”
Saturday April 9 John Marszalek “TBA”
Saturday May 14 Jeffrey Wert “Jeb Stuart”
2010 Fall Field Trip: Frankfort Ky. Sunday October 17
The LCWRT will be taking a one-day field trip to Frankfort October 17th. The day will include a walking tour of downtown to see sites associated with the secession crisis and Kentucky neutrality, the 1862 occupation of Frankfort by the Confederates including streets involved in skirmishing during their departure, Morgan's 1864 raid on the town, residences of notable personages from the Civil War era, and the Capital City Museum (which has a couple of interesting Civil War relics.) The day will also include a tour of the Frankfort Cemetery, with the graves of Simon Bolivar Buckner and many other Civil War soldiers and politicians, the Kentucky Military Monument, Confederate Circle, and of course Daniel Boone's grave. The high point of the day will be a tour of the Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill, which features an 1810 log house visitor center outfitted as a Civil War era tavern, two Civil War earthwork forts, the site of an 1864 Morgan's Last Raid skirmish, and a spectacular view of downtown Frankfort.
Our guide will be Nicky Hughes who is an expert on Frankfort in the Civil War. There is no charge for this trip except paying for your own transportation and lunch. We will be car-pooling to Frankfort. Look for more details in next month’s newsletter and a sign-up sheet at the meeting.