The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008, in the café of Borders Books in Governor’s Square Mall. This is located on Wilma Rudolph Blvd (Hwy 79) south of Exit 4 off I-24, then head south a bit. The mall is on the left. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm and is always open to the public. Members please bring a friend or two – new recruits are always welcomed.
Danny Gilkey – Clarksville CWRT & Austin Peay State University
“The Blue Waters of the Potomac Ran Red With Blood: The Battle of Ball’s Bluff”
The Battle of Ball’s Bluff near Leesburg, Virginia, on the bank of the Potomac River thirty miles northwest of Washington, D.C., was an unplanned misadventure fought on October 21, 1861, three months to the day after the Union debacle at First Bull Run. Modern chroniclers of the military history of the Civil War either neglect to include any description of the battle in their works or give it only scant mention. Indeed, by later war standards, Ball’s Bluff was merely a large skirmish having no real military significance. But because Ball’s Bluff was the second humiliation of the northern army in the eastern theater, the public, press, and Congress were eager to assign culpability. The political fallout was significant. The battle directly led to the formation of the Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. The committee pilloried the corps commander, General Charles P. Stone, and his career was destroyed, serving as a warning to the largely Democrat officer corps that civilian authority and Radical Republican policy must be served. Ball’s Bluff was not, as often characterized, the result of a preconceived military plan gone awry. Blame should rightly be attributed not only to Stone, but also to Colonel Edward Baker, the battlefield commander, and to General George B. McClellan, the commander of the Army of the Potomac.
Mr. Gilkey has a B.A. and M.A. Murray State University and is retired from the Christian County Schools after 28 years as both teacher and administrator (a well-deserved retirement, we’re sure!). From 2003-2005 he served as adjunct instructor of history for Hopkinsville Community College Ft. Campbell Center, and has been on the faculty of APSU since 2005. In 2007 he was nominated by the Student Government Association as exemplary faculty member of the year. Danny and his wife Ethel have been active in the Clarksville CWRT since its inception.