May Newsletter!

May 20th, 2009 – Our 62nd Meeting

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, May 20th, 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.



The critical state of Missouri was a slave state but, like Kentucky, had powerful ties to the Union as well as a history of political compromise in the attempt to keep the Union from splitting apart. A case can be made that the Civil War started in western Missouri and Kansas in the 1850’s as pro and anti-slavery factions squared off. Crucial in holding the state in the Union in 1861 was St. Louis and its large German population. The city, with its large industrial base and US arsenal full of weapons, became a target for pro-Southern forces as the war began.

Forces loyal to Gov. Claiborne Jackson, who was pro-Southern, were captured by local militia under US Army Captain Nathaniel Lyon and politician Frank Blair at Camp Jackson as they formed and trained for state service. This was the catalyst that set the state aflame and brought the rise of the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard under Sterling Price as well as the large number of Union regiments from the state. A campaign of maneuver and battle was waged as Lyon chased Southern forces westward culminating in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10th, 1861.

Combining his forces with those of Franz Sigel, Lyon, now a Brigadier General and outnumbered two to one (the Confederates having been reinforced from Arkansas and Louisiana under Ben McCulloch), attacked and was initially successful before superior numbers were brought to bear. Lyon was killed and the Union troops driven back in defeat. With the casualties numbering over 2400 combined (out of 16,000 engaged), this battle was a forerunner of things to come.

Jeff Patrick is a Park Ranger at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield where he has been since 1992. He holds two history degrees from Purdue University and is the author of several books including a new tome on Wilson’s Creek due soon. He has written a number of articles on the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War 1 for Indiana Military History Journal, the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil War Regiments, Kansas History and the Journal of Mississippi History. He has also had articles published in Blue & Gray magazine, North & South magazine as well as others.

Please join us as Jeff Patrick presents an interesting program on the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.


Kevin Tanner, Associate Professor of History at Austin Peay State University, presented a well-received program on John Brown and his role in helping to start the Civil War. Tanner presented his life and his beliefs on slavery as well as religion and how he saw that the destruction of slavery was a holy cause that he needed to undertake. Beginning in Kansas before culminating in the famous attack on the Federal Arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in 1859, Brown raised the ante each time culminating with his hanging as a traitor to Virginia serving to make him a martyr for his abolitionist cause.

Tanner’s command of the topic was laced with humor and bittersweet topics and the presentation certainly gave a fuller understanding of Brown and his role in the Civil War. This is an excellent program that other CWRTs should hear. Thanks Kevin for speaking to us!


June, 2009 – Jim Epperson, University of Michigan – “The Prisoner Of War Cartel”
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/Clarksville CWRT – “Remembering Calamity: The Total War Fallacy”
October, 2009 – Thomas Cartwright, former Director, Carter House Historic Site – “The Battle of Thompson’s Station”
November, 2009 – Jim Hoobler, Tennessee State Museum – “Occupied Nashville”
December, 2009 – Max Hochstetler, Austin Peay State University/Clarksville CWRT – “The Decker Brothers and the 32nd Indiana Infantry in the Civil War”
January, 2010 – Howard Kittel, Director and CEO, the Hermitage – “The Civil War In The Shenandoah Valley”
February, 2010 – Dr. Wally Cross, Austin Peay State University, “The Commanders Of Ft. Donelson”


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 is 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!!!!!

Clarksville CWRT silent auction – Each month we hold a silent auction of donated items to help raise more money for the club’s treasury. If you have something Civil War related that you would like to donate please bring it to the meeting. Thanks very much to all of you who have donated items.



For more than 130 years, it was one of the great mysteries of the Civil War, lost to the ocean depths and unseen by human eyes. Now, history buffs in West Tennessee can get an
up-close look at the C.S.S. Hunley, the first submarine to ever sink an enemy ship in combat. The display of a full-size Hunley replica — the real Confederate submarine is in a
museum in Charleston, S.C. — is a great opportunity for families to learn about the Civil War. The Hunley will be on display Tuesday, May 26 through Saturday, May 30 from
10 AM – 4 PM. Admission is just $2.00 per person.

The Hunley Mobile Exhibit, operated by the non-profit Friends of the Hunley , features the submarine that was created for the 1999 movie “The Hunley.” Visitors can actually climb inside
to get a better understanding of the conditions the crew worked in. The last Hunley crew sunk the U.S.S. Housatonic but never made it back to shore. Archaeologists are still not sure
why the Hunley sank the last time. Its crew was found on board when it was lifted from the water more than 130 years after it went down. This is an event not to be missed.

The exhibit is sponsored by West Tennessee Healthcare.


Besides being the home of President Andrew Jackson, the Hermitage was also the site of the Tennessee Confederate Soldiers Home where veterans could live out their lives. On Sunday, May 31st, a program will be offered to decorate graves with flags as well as other festivities starting at 2:00 PM. The organizers, the Randall McGavock SCV Camp, ask interested parties to arrive by 1:30 PM.

For further information please email John Mertz at

MILL SPRINGS BATTLEFIELD ASSOCIATION WANTS NATIONAL PARK STATUS – By Heather Pyles ,Commonwealth Journal (KY) (from the Civil War Preservation Trust news)

Mill Springs Battlefield has long been considered a historical landmark in Pulaski County. But sometime in the future, it may become more than that. Think Mill Springs Battlefield National Park.

During Tuesday’s Pulaski County Fiscal Court meeting, Gilbert Wilson, the director of the Mill Springs Battlefield Association, presented Pulaski Judge-executive Barty Bullock and the magistrates a resolution in which the court would request that the federal government establish the battlefield as a national park. “The county government has been really great to us,” Wilson said after the meeting. “But we can’t indefinitely depend on them to help us.”

The Battlefield Association was created in 1992 to help protect and interpret the Mill Springs battlefield, and since then the association has acquired more than 450 acres of battlefield land from private owners, built a 10,000 square-foot visitors’ center and museum in Nancy and restored a preserved two Civil War-era homes in Wayne County. The association also undertook the expansion of a national register boundary to create a 10-mile corridor encompassing the entire battlefield, began providing reenactments and educational programs for the public and developed several miles of interpretive trails for visitors.

“We think we’ve got the battlefield in the position that for the National Park Service to take it over, it’d be pretty easy to run with it,” Wilson said. And the battlefield — marking the site of the January 19, 1862 battle that is considered the first major Civil War victory in the West for the Union Army — would need to be handed over should the federal government decide to deem it a national park. The Mill Springs Battlefield Association would remain a friend of the Battlefield organization after the transition. “Mill Springs Battlefield has grown to be a major tourist stop in southern Kentucky and needs to take the next step in its development,” stated a press release from the association.

The Pulaski County Fiscal Court approved the resolution.


Mark your calendars for the third annual Nathan Bedford Forrest seminar sponsored by the Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veterans and the N.B. Forrest Camp, 215, Memphis. Saturday, July 11th, 2009 is the date and programs included Ft. Pillow, Brice’s Crossroads, Forrest’s Early Years and Forrest’s Escort. Presenters include Dr. Michael Bradley, retired Brig. Gen. Parker Hills (tentative), Judge John McClure and Knox Martin. A tour of Forrest’s Memphis Raid led by Lee Millar caps the event.

The event will be held at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, 825 Union Avenue, across the street from Forrest Park. The event costs only $45 and covers all programs, lunch and the tour. For an extra $5 you can be entertained by the 52nd Regimental String Band that evening. Payments can be sent to Forrest Seminar 09, PO Box 11141, Memphis, TN 38111. The Red Roof Inn, 42 S. Camilla at Exit 30, I-240, offers an SCV rate of $59.95 for the night. Contact them at (901)526-1050. A Forrest birthday celebration will be held on Sunday, July 12th at 2:00 PM in Forrest Park.

For more information please email Lee Millar at:

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