Monday, June 19, 2017

LCWRT Special Event:
June 24, 2017
2017 Bourbon & Barbecue:
Tennessee Whiskey and Tennessee War
This year’s theme is “Tennessee Whiskey and Tennessee War”. We will welcome George Dickel Ambassador Brian Downing who will conduct a tasting of six George Dickel Tennessee Whiskeys.  We will also feature famous Civil War historian and storyteller Tom Cartwright who will speak on “Tennessee War”.  And we are very happy to once again have bourbon expert, author, and historian Mike Veach with us who will serve as our master of ceremonies. The program will begin at 4:15 on the patio overlooking the Ohio River and yes, we have a tent to protect us from the sun and any moisture that might fall from the sky. 

Immediately after the presentation at approximately 5:30, we will begin serving a buffet style BBQ picnic dinner that will be a delight to everyone’s taste buds!  Master BBQ chefs Marc Oca and Art Boerner will slow cook and smoke pork and ribs all day Saturday just for us.  

Thomas Y. Cartwright 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Saturday May 13
Announcing Our 520th Meeting
“The Fight for the East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg”
Presented by Eric Wittenberg

Eric J. Wittenberg was born in the Philadelphia suburbs. He was raised in southeastern Pennsylvania, and made his first trip to the Gettysburg battlefield as a third-grader. By the end of that trip, he was fully hooked on the Civil War. Eric is an alumnus of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and also has two degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree in public and international affairs from Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs as well his Juris Doctor from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. 

Eric J. Wittenberg is an award-winning Civil War historian. His specialty is cavalry operations, with a particular emphasis on the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps. He is the author of seventeen published books. His first book, Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, was named the third winner of the Robert E. Lee Civil War Roundtable of Central New Jersey’s Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award as the best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg of 1998. Other works of his have been chosen as main selections by the History and Military Book Clubs, and his work uniformly receives good reviews. He is also the author of more than two dozen published articles on Civil War cavalry operations. His articles have appeared in Gettysburg Magazine, North & South, Blue & Gray, Hallowed Ground, America’s Civil War, and Civil War Times Illustrated. 

Eric regularly travels the country to lecture on the war, and he is frequently asked to lead Civil War battlefield tours. Battlefield preservation work is very important to him. He sits on the boards of advisors of the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation and the Friends of the Alligator, and has regularly worked with the Civil War Preservation Trust in helping to save battlefield land. He is an original member of, as well as past president and program chairman of, the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable. He is the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation and serves as one of 18 members of the Governor of Ohio’s Advisory Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. He maintains a popular and well-regarded blog, Rantings of a Civil War Historian, and is the owner and moderator of the popular Civil War Discussion Group Online. A native Philadelphian, he is a long-suffering fan of the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers, and is also an avid supporter of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Eric, his wife Susan, and their two golden retrievers live in Columbus, Ohio.  

The Fight for the East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg

In his talk, “Protecting the Flank: The Fight for East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg,” award-winning Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg will address the critical events that occurred on East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. However, you cannot understand these events without also understanding the fight for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge on the afternoon of July 2 that set the stage for the fight on East Cavalry Field. Come hear Mr. Wittenberg discuss these important events.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

American Civil War Monuments
Three Generals
South Loop, Kentucky Avenue, between Union and Confederate Avenues
Vicksburg Military Park

Photos Courtesy of LCWRT Member Paul Fridell
At Vicksburg, there are 4 very large busts on the South Loop of Kentucky Avenue of 4 generals, 2 CSA, 2 USA.  We already covered Ben Hardin Helm.

Left to Right:
Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge
Cost (by Federal Government): $565 bust, $208.91 pedestal
Sculptor: T.A.R. Kitson
Erected: 1913

Plaque reads:
John C. Breckenridge
Major General C S Army
Commanding Division
Johnston’s Army
Brig Gen C S Army Nov 2 1861
Major General Apr 14 1862
Born Lexington Ken Jan 16 1821
Died Lexington Ken May 17 1875"

“In May 1863, Breckinridge was reassigned to Joseph E. Johnston, participating in the Battle of Jackson in an attempt to break the Siege of Vicksburg. Vicksburg fell to Grant's forces on July 4, and Breckinridge was returned to Bragg's command on August 28, 1863."

Brig. Gen. William Vandever,
Cost: $550 for bronze
Sculptor: George T. Brewster
Erected: February 1915, Original Location: Iowa Circle

Plaque reads:
"Brig.General U.S.Vols
Commanding 1st Brigadier/ Herron's Division
Col.9th Iowa Inf. Sept.24 1861
Brig.Gen.U.S.Vols. Nov.29 1862
Bvt. Maj.Gen. Of Vols. June 7 1865"

“In 1861, Vandever was mustered into the Union Army as colonel of the 9th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to brigadier general of Volunteers on November 29, 1862 and sent to command a brigade in the XIII Corps of the Army of the Tennessee. He returned to the Trans-Mississippi Theater to command the 2nd Division in the Army of the Frontier at the Battle of Chalk Bluff. He reverted to brigade command under Francis J. Herron during the siege of Vicksburg.“
Jacob G. Lauman, Brig. Gen.
Cost: $570 for bronze
Sculptor: R. Hinson Perry
Erected: March 1914
Original Location: Wisconsin Avenue
Brig. General U.S. Vols.
Commanding 4th Division”
“In 1863, Lauman led the 4th Division of the XVI Corps during the Siege of Vicksburg. He was relieved of duty by the order of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman shortly after the capture of Jackson, Mississippi, on July 16, 1863. He failed to properly execute orders on how to deploy his troops from his immediate superior, Ord, who accused him of wanton disregard for the orders that led to a heavy loss in casualties.”

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Friday, January 13, 2017

American Civil War Battlefields
Lookout Mountain, TN
Cravens House

Photo and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charlie Moore

Today Robert Cravens is best known for the house that bears his name on a small outcrop of level land about half-way up Lookout Mountain, south of Chattanooga.  Cravens was a wealthy iron manufacturer whose business thrived with the coming of the railroad to this area. During the siege of Chattanooga, the Cravens family fled to their property in Georgia. The Confederate Army then used the home as a headquarters and encampment.  Because it was visible from Moccasin Bend across the Tennessee River, Union gunners used the home as a target when they fired at Confederates on the mountain.  On November 23, 1863, much of the fighting in the Battle of Lookout Mountain occurred on the Cravens’ property.  After the battle, Union forces used the home as a headquarters and an encampment for reporters.  It was during this time that the house was largely destroyed.  After the war the Cravens family returned to Lookout Mountain and rebuilt the house in 1866.  The house had a complete renovation in 1956 and is today under the auspices of the National Park Service.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

American Civil War Battlefields
Antietam National Military Park
Burnside Bridge, Antietam Creek
Sept. 17, 1863

 Photos and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Holly Jenkins-Evans

At 10:00 AM the fighting to take the Rohrbach Brige and hit Lee’s right flank  started. First the 11th CT, then Crook’s Brigade. At 11, Nagle’s Brigade tried again.  Finally, Ferrero’s brigade of the 51st NY and 51st PA charged the bridge, and with the support of Rodman’s men crossing downstream, the bridge was carried.

The banks here are steep enough to cause trouble. And indeed, once infantry was to start up the banks, it would have been a muddy, slippery, impossible morass. It was the bridge or nothing.


“More than 500 Union troops had been killed or wounded attempting to carry the crossing, known ever since as Burnside Bridge.

After the battle, the bridge was actively used for traffic until as recently as 1966. To preserve the bridge, a bypass was built to take cars on to a new bridge upstream. Today, visitors can once again quietly stroll across what has become the icon of Antietam Battlefield. The peaceful, bucolic setting belies the terrible struggle that took place nearly 150 years ago”.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

American Civil War Memorials
Lincoln’s Tomb
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Springfield, Illinois

photo and text courtesy of LCWRT Member Charles Moore

Who is buried in Lincoln's Tomb? 
The Lincoln Tomb is the final resting place of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their four sons.  It is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery which was founded in 1860.  Robert, the oldest son, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  Completed in 1874, the towering granite tomb comprises a tall central tower atop the squat mausoleum building that holds the presidents remains.  Four large bronze statues representing the four military branches of the time - Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and Navy -  surround the central obelisk. At the base of the tomb is a large bronze replica of Lincoln’s head, cast from the original work sculpted by Gutzon Borglum of Mount Rushmore fame. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Announcing Our 516th Meeting
January 15, 2017
Following in the Footsteps of a Confederate Deserter: The Story of North Carolina’s John Futch

Presented by Peter S. Carmichael

At the January meeting we honor the memory of our founder with the 21st annual Frank Rankin Lecture.  We are honored to have as our guest lecturer Peter Carmichael. He is an outstanding Civil War historian and a great speaker.  Peter S. Carmichael is the Fluhrer Professor of History and the Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. After completing his doctorate at Penn State University under Dr. Gary W. Gallagher, Professor Carmichael went on to teach at Western Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and West Virginia University.  He is the author and editor of four books, including The Last Generation: Young Virginians in 
Peace, War, and Reunion, which was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2005. Every June Professor Carmichael directs the Civil War Institute’s Summer conference, which draws more than 300 attendees from across the country.  More recently Professor Carmichael has appeared on the PBS Robert E. Lee documentary for The American Experience series and his lectures have been covered by C-Span. He is currently finishing a book entitled The War for the Common Soldier 

 “Following in the Footsteps of a Confederate Deserter” 
On August 20, 1863, just a day before Jefferson Davis called for the Confederacy to renew itself through public fasting and prayer, thirteen veteran soldiers from the 3rd North Carolina decided that God had other intentions. That evening, in the blackness of night, they picked up their rifles, slung on their cartridge belts, and escaped into the woods. From that point on, there was no turning back on a trek of some three hundred perilous miles that would eventually take them to their North Carolina homes. Earlier that day, Lee ordered his corps commanders to organize armed parties to hunt down runaways while calling for the president to back immediate enforcement of the death penalty against deserters. While the Tar Heels could not have possibly known that Lee was cracking down on the army as if it were a wild beast, the impact of the general's orders would be felt with surprising swiftness. "I am all most sick all the time and half crazy" looks at the life of John Futch who was a member of the party that deserted from the 3rd North Carolina. Through the story of Futch we look at different facets of desertion in Lee's army after Gettysburg that include the use of violence in Confederate ranks and the role of fake news in suppressing dissent among Confederate soldiers and civilians. Our conversation will be based on the actual letters of Futch, which we will read and discuss together