Our February Meeting Information

February 18th, 2009 – Our 59th Meeting!!!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 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.


Dr. Glenn LaFantasie – Western Kentucky University and noted Civil War author

“Abraham Lincoln and the American Military Tradition”

President Abraham Lincoln found himself in a situation that no American president had faced before him (or after); the threat of his nation splitting apart. With the coming of war in April, 1861, Lincoln, as the Constitutional Commander In Chief, was forced to work with U.S. Army commanders like the aging Winfield Scott, a War of 1812 and Mexican War hero; and new generals like George B. McClellan, John C. Fremont, Henry W. Halleck, Don Carlos Buell among others. Most had only been captains or majors in the Mexican War and were now promoted to positions well above their training to command armies far larger than anything ever raised in North America to that point. Lincoln, himself, had his own learning curve and walked the line between intervention in strategy and campaigns and letting his military do its job. Always aware that he needed the support of the people and even the opposite political party, Lincoln formed coalitions of generals and politicians to achieve the victory and national re-unification he so desperately wanted.

This program will cover the events and decisions that President Lincoln faced and how he reacted to them and it showed a president that grew in the subject of military matters along with a commander in chief who realized, once he got the field commanders he could trust like Grant and Sherman, that he could step back and let them do their jobs; a far different situation in 1864 than it was in 1862. Prof. Glenn LaFantasie will interpret all of these decisions and situations ultimately showing the far reaching effects of Abraham Lincoln on the American military. Please join us as we welcome back Dr. Glenn LaFantasie for another excellent program. Borders will have copies of his latest book for sale.

Dr. Glenn LaFantasie is the Richard Frockt Family Professor of Civil War History at Western Kentucky University and director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War in the West. He last spoke to us in February, 2007 on his then current book on Alabama Col. William C. Oates. He earned his doctorate on History at Brown University. A noted author, his books include “Twilight at Little Round Top” (2005), Gettysburg Heroes: Perfect Soldiers; Hallowed Ground” (2008); and Gettysburg Requiem: The Life and Lost Causes of Confederate Colonel William C. Oates” (2006). He has taught at Gettysburg College, University of Rhode Island and the University of Maine at Farmington.


Clarksville CWRT president Greg Biggs presented “Turning The Tide – The Union Cavalry at the Battle of Shelbyville” as the January program. Beginning by listing the troubles the Union had in holding a conquered Tennessee thanks to Confederate cavalry raids and guerrilla activity, the Union Army began to expand its cavalry arm, not only to protect rear supply areas but also to deal with their mounted foes on the battle field. For the first year and a half of the war the Federal troopers were outclassed and defeated time and again by the likes of Morgan, Wheeler, Forrest and Van Dorn. But new leadership, David Stanley and Robert Minty, as well as efforts by Gen. William Rosecrans to mass cavalry, soon yielded positive results. Morgan was defeated three consecutive times and CS Gen. Bragg was forced to spread his cavalry screen ever wider to cover his defense line along the Highland Rim north of Tullahoma. As this screen under Gen. Joe Wheeler was shifting westward to launch a raid, Rosecrans struck with a brilliant plan to maneuver Bragg into fighting for his line of supply. Incessant rains slowed the Federal movements but quick victories at Hoover’s Gap and Shelbyville by the Union mounted forces, gave Rosecrans what he needed to maneuver Bragg out of Tennessee. While failing to smash Bragg’s army, the Tullahoma Campaign was worthy of Napoleon and Frederick the Great and the cavalry battle at Shelbyville, where Wheeler and his vaunted troopers were literally driven into the Duck River, served notice that things had changed in the west for the Union cavalry arm.

Thanks Greg for the informative program on a little known but critical campaign and battle.


March, 2009 – Norman Shaw, Knoxville CWRT – “The Sultana Disaster”

April, 2009 – Kevin Tanner, Austin Peay State University“John Brown And The Civil War”

May, 2009 – Jeff Patrick, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield – “A Mean Fought Fight; The Battle of Wilson’s Creek”

June, 2009 – Thomas Cartwright, former Director, Carter House Historic Site – “The Battle of Thompson’s Station”

July, 2009 – Prof. Earl Hess, Lincoln Memorial University“The Rifled Musket in the Civil War” (based on his book)

August, 2009 – Dr. Michele Butts, Austin Peay State University – “1st U.S. Volunteers, Galvanized Yankees.”

September, 2009 – Lee Anderson, Western Kentucky University“The Myth Of Total War”


Thanks to all of you, the Clarksville CWRT continues to grow. We would love to have you join us! If you have friends interested in the Civil War, please bring them along. July was our fiscal year when dues for the current campaign were due. If you haven’t paid your dues for this season yet please do so. Our dues help us get great speakers and for historical preservation. Annual dues are as follows:

Single membership – $20

Family – $30

Military – Active duty and Veterans – $15

Military Family – Active duty and Veterans – $25

Student – $10

Former members and our many guests – We would love to see you back at the Clarksville CWRT meetings every month and we hope that you will consider rejoining us! To our guests, thank you for much for coming to see what we are about. Your dues money goes towards helping to pay the travel expenses we get to visit us so we hope that you considering joining our ranks very soon. Welcome to our new members!!!!!



In conjunction with the 147th Anniversary of the Ft. Donelson Campaign, the Ft. Donelson National Battlefield announces events to commemorate its history. The 9th Kentucky Infantry (US) and the 50th Tennessee Infantry will hold encampments running from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday and for the 9th Kentucky only, 10 AM to 3 PM on Sunday. Two additional events will also take place over the weekend. On Saturday, Feb. 14th. Miss Ellie will present “Speaking of Ladies: Historical Presentations by Miss Ellie.” She is a former teacher and library manager and her two topics will include the influence of women in the Civil War as well as refugees. Her programs will be held at the park visitor’s center at 1 PM and 3 PM. Area living historians will also hold a program at the Dover Hotel (the Surrender House) in Dover from 11 AM to 3 PM. For more information please call the park at (931)232-5706. All programs are free of charge and wonderful family events! Please support our wonderful neighbors and attend this coming weekend!


The Knoxville Civil War Roundtable and the East Tennessee Historical Society are presenting a conference on Civil War Cavalry in Tennessee on Saturday, February 28, 2009. This will be in conjunction with the “Hoofbeats in the Heartland” traveling exhibit from the Tennessee State Museum which will be on display at the East Tennessee Historical Society.

Speakers include Dr. William Garrett Piston – “A Family Affair: The Carter Brothers and Their Raid on East Tennessee, Dec. 1862-Jan. 1863”, State Representative Steve McDaniel – “Forrest’s 1862 West Tennessee Raid and the Preservation of Parker’s Crossroads”, Jim Ogden – “Fighting Joe Wheeler’s October, 1863 Raid”, and Dorothy Kelly – “The Yankees Pay a Visit to Knoxville: Sanders’ 1863 East Tennessee Raid.”

The event is only $35 and includes a lunch. For more information please call (865)215-8824 or visit the East Tennessee Historical Society’s web site at http://www.eastTNhistory.org. Please support our neighbors by attending this fine seminar which is only 3 ½ hours away from Clarksville!


Mark your calendars for Friday, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th, 2009 for the “The Cavalry: A Conference On Mounted Warfare” to be held at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville. Hosted by Belle Meade, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and the Tennessee State Museum, the event will feature lectures and tours related to cavalry operations in Middle Tennessee. It is being held in conjunction with the “Hoofbeats In The Heartland” touring exhibit from the Tennessee State Museum.

The event begins on Friday evening, March 27th with a program by Dr. Richard McMurry, “Uncompromising Secessionist: James Knox Miller and the 8th Confederate Cavalry.” On Saturday, March 28th, the luncheon program features Dr. Brian McKnight of Angelo State University in Texas with “Champ Ferguson: Tennessee Terror.” Other programs include: Myers Brown, Tennessee State Museum on “Loyal Cavaliers: Tennessee’s Unionist Cavalrymen” (based on his recent book – Clarksville’s Borders has this in stock); Dr. Lonnie Maness, Univ. of Tennessee-Martin, “Lightning Warfare: Forrest’s West Tennessee Raid” and Greg Biggs, Clarksville CWRT, “Turning The Tide: The Union Cavalry at the Battle of Shelbyville.” Thomas Cartwright, former director of the Carter House State Historic Site, will conduct a tour of Belle Meade which was the site of a cavalry battle during the Battle of Nashville as well as CS Gen. James Chalmers’ headquarters during the fight. Registration is only $65 for the entire program with military, teachers and student discounts available.

For more details please call Jenny Lamb at Belle Meade at (615) 356-0501 (email interpretation@bellemeadeplantation.com) or Jeff Sellers at the Tennessee State Museum at (615)253-0142 (email jeff.sellers@state.tn.us). Registration deadline is March 20th, 2009.


One of the complaints over the years by those who have studied the Civil War’s western theater is the lack of contemporary writings about the drama and combat in places like Nashville, Shiloh and Franklin.  In recent years several works have been produced to address this situation, led especially by the works of James Lee McDonough. His book about Franklin, co-authored with Thomas L. Connelly, Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin, was published in 1983 by the University of Tennessee Press.  It remains a classic for those who desire to understand the horror of that November, 1864, tragedy. We are proud to announce that Prof. McDonough, most recently a member of the history faculty at Auburn University (and previously David Lipscomb University), will be speaking about the Battle of Franklin to the Franklin Civil War Round Table, on Sunday, March 8th, at the Williamson Country Library.

The author has written about several other western theater battles including Stone’s River, Shiloh, Chattanooga and his 2004 release, Nashville: The Western Confederacy’s Final Gamble.  One reviewer wrote regarding the subject of his talk Five Tragic Hours, “If ever the futility of war needed ramming home, then this book is brilliant.”  Mr. McDonough has spoken to various historical groups and symposiums around the nation.  You don’t want to miss this.  We anticipate a big crowd so we suggest you email GregLWade@yahoo.com to make sure you reserve a spot at this event.  After the author speaks, Landmark Booksellers will sponsor a book signing for attendees to meet and speak with Prof. McDonough.

Both events will be held at the Williamson County Library, Sunday, March 8th.  It will start at 3:00 and last about 90 minutes.  For further information contact:  Greg L. Wade  473-3034.  There is no admission but donations are greatly appreciated.

RECESSION FORCES HISTORIANS TO MAKE DOJames Hannah, Associated Press, 2/1/2009 http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20090201/NEWS01/902010332 (thanks to the Civil War Preservation Trust newsletter)

COLUMBUS — The Civil War flag that was brandished by the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry is wrapped tightly around its pole. It’s a delicate task to unfurl the almost 150-year-old banner without it crumbling. Yet, the humidity-raising chamber used to loosen the material consists of a homemade aluminum frame covered with a plastic-like film. It was built with parts from Lowe’s that cost less than $500. The work is being done in a warehouse and in a homemade chamber instead of with state-of-the-art equipment costing as much as $20,000. With the recession tightening its grip, budgets being cut and donors drying up, preservationists are scaling back on restorations. Authorities estimate 4.8 billion artifacts are in U.S. archives, libraries, museums and historical societies, but one in four institutions have no controls to protect against temperature, humidity and light. According to a 2005 survey by Heritage Preservation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 13.5 million historic objects, 153 million photographs and 4.7 million works of art needed immediate care.

The Ohio Historical Society is trying to preserve much of the Ohio Adjutant General’s battle flag collection — 552 flags carried in five wars. Most earlier preservation was carried out in the 1960s and to date, only 18 flags have been preserved using updated, more costly techniques paid for largely by private funds. Soldiers who hoisted Civil War flags in battle were fat targets for the enemy. “Men knew it was very likely they were going to die when they were carrying them,” said James Strider, the society’s director of historic preservation.

Historical societies and museums around the country are being squeezed. The Ohio Historical Society has seen its budget shrink by 13 percent in the past eight years. The society has laid off its preservation staff. With all of its storage space filled and no money to expand, the society is going through its collections to decide what not to keep. It virtually has stopped accepting donations of artifacts. Many of the society’s artifacts are stored in warehouses without adequate climate and pest control. The warehouses sit about a mile from the historical center where artifacts are displayed. Moving collections back and forth risks damaging them.

Mark Hudson, executive director of the Historical Society of Frederick County (Md.), said when public and private funding shrinks, museums and historical societies often focus on exhibits that draw paying patrons. “When you’re faced with having to pay electric bills or laying off staff, things like conservation treatments can take the back seat very quickly,” Hudson said.

PRESERVATION EFFORTS CONTINUE AT SHEPHERDSTOWN – By Naomi Smoot, 1/27/2009, Martinsburg Journal (WV) http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/514989.html (from the CWPT newsletter)

A local preservation group could be one step closer to saving a property that they say was part of a Civil War battlefield. Members of the U.S. Senate approved a measure known as the Omnibus Public Lands Bill earlier this month, and the legislation is now awaiting approval from the House of Representatives. The bill, among other things, authorizes a resource study for a property that is believed to be the site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown. The study aims to determine the national significance of the site, as well as the suitability and feasibility of including it in either Harpers Ferry National Historical Park or Antietam National Battlefield.

“It’s the first step that the federal government takes,” said Edward Dunleavy, president of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association. In recent years, Dunleavy’s group has been fighting to preserve the property, which is currently slated to become home to a 152-unit housing development known as Far Away Farms. As a part of the effort, group members met with U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., nearly three years ago to tell him about their efforts to preserve the site. The Senator later introduced a bill in an attempt to help save the historic property, and noted in an April 2008 news release that he was excited have a chance to aid in the group’s efforts. West Virginia is home to many great landmarks that are a significant part of our nation’s history,” Byrd said. “I am pleased to be working with the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association to help initiate this National Park Study.”

Dunleavy said that once the study is complete, the National Park Service could consider expanding the boundaries of either Harpers Ferry National Historical Park or Antietam National Battlefield to include the property. After that, he said the land would have to be purchased, but only if there is a willing seller. But attorneys representing Far Away Farms’ developer say the property’s owners maintain their right to use the land as they see fit. “In West Virginia people still have the right to own their property and do with it what they want,” said Nathan Cochran, an attorney from the law office of Richard Gay. “We don’t believe it should be taken from them without their consent.” Cochran said the office also disputes the property’s historic significance, and noted that a ruling issued in Jefferson County Circuit Court maintained that the property did not meet the definition of historic as outlined in the county’s ordinances.

“We do not believe that this property is within the core area of that battlefield,” Cochran said. But Dunleavy and other members of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association disagree, and recently announced their intentions to team up with West Virginia University to conduct a historic resource study of the property.

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