Our August Meeting Announcement

August 19th, 2009 – Our 65th Meeting – Back at Borders!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, August 19th, 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. Members please bring a friend or two – new recruits are always welcomed.


“The Galvanized Yankees: Confederate Prisoners Of War in Blue”

In 1964 director Sam Peckinpah released his first big budget film “Major Dundee,” starring Charlton Heston, Jim Hutton and Richard Harris. It was the story of an out-manned U.S. cavalry unit fighting renegade Apache Indians along the U.S.-Mexico border during the Civil War. Short of manpower due to the much bigger events in the east, Heston was forced to enlist a number of Confederate POWs into his command under the command of Harris. The film brought to the public a very little-known episode of the Civil War; the Galvanized Yankees, Confederate prisoners who would rather fight Indians than remain in POW camps.

This month’s program, by Dr. Michele Butts of Austin Peay State University will focus on the first such unit raised by the U.S. Government, the 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry, as well as the history of this project; how well it did or did not work; what the Confederates were offered for enlisting as well and their motivations for doing so; and its aftermath. Based on her book, “Galvanized Yankees On The Upper Missouri: The Face Of Loyalty,” Dr. Butts will examine all of this and much more. This regiment built forts to protect Western migration, patrolled the region, and suffered through the severe winters of the West, far tougher than the Southern climates these men came from. What these men offered, in the words of one of their officers, was “the fruits of a reunited nation.”

It also goes with out saying that Plains Indians were often hostile to the military no matter what color uniform they wore for they attacked Federals and Confederates alike as units from both sides operated in Texas and New Mexico Territory. From Minnesota to Utah, the U.S. Army fought a war within the Civil War that is often forgotten about by most Civil War students today.

Dr. Michele Butts is a Clarksville native with Bachelors and Masters degrees from Austin Peay. Her doctorate degree, under the guidance of famed Western historian Paul Hutton, is from the University of New Mexico. She is currently a Professor of History at Austin Peay history department and has taught in Kentucky as well as New Mexico. Sadly, her book is out of print but can be obtained online from a number of sources.

Please join us for what will be a very unique program on a little known subject of the war by one of its finest experts!

In July, Dr. Earl Hess of Lincoln Memorial University in East Tennessee, presented a fine program on the “Myth of the Rifle Musket” which was based on his recent book. Dr. Hess challenged the common belief that the Civil War was so bloody due to these weapons overwhelming then current infantry tactics, but his evidence proved that wars before the Civil War, especially the Napoleonic Wars, were as bloody or even bloodier and those were fought with smooth bore weapons. Facts like the parabolic curve, which rifled Minie rounds flew after leaving the barrels compared to the flat trajectory of the smooth bore rounds (which fired deadly Buck & Ball rounds), left common Civil War soldiers befuddled as they were not trained to use range estimation and sight adjustments to overcome the curve. This curve was known before the war thanks to tests conducted by several nations but was ignored by commanders of Union and Confederate armies despite the writings of future CS general Cadmus Wilcox on the subject. What Dr. Hess’ research has found was that these weapons in the hands of specialist troops like sharp shooter companies and battalions, could, in fact, be battlefield dominators but it was their training, which was not given to the vast majority of the volunteer regiments, which allowed for this. The presentation set the stage for a lively discussion between the membership and speaker that went on for some time.

We look forward to having Dr. Hess return to the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable. Borders has copies of his books in case you missed the meeting.


September, 2009 – Russell Bonds, Atlanta CWRT and author – “Stealing The General” (based on his book)
October, 2009 – Lee Anderson, Western Kentucky University/Clarksville CWRT – “Remembering Calamity: The Total War Fallacy”
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”
March, 2010 – Thomas Cartwright, former Director, Carter House Historic Site – “The Battle of Thompson’s Station”

MEMBERS AND DUES: – Dues are due at this meeting!!! Please support the CWRT so we can get fine speakers!!

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.


Davis Bridge Battle Field soon to be a Tennessee Civil War park

Good news! Acreage has been purchased to create the Davis Bridge Battlefield Park. Located near Pocahontas, TN just above the Mississippi state line and northwest of
Corinth, MS, this field was the site of the October 5, 1862 battle where the Federals tried to block the retreat of Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Army of the West after their repulse the day
before at Corinth. The Civil War Preservation Trust is involved as is the American Battlefield Protection Program and the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust. Most of the field
is already paid for at the CWPT is seeking donations for the remaining $167,000. The old Pocahontas School House will be rehabilitated as the visitor’s center and museum
which will tie into the national park at Corinth. Nearly 900 acres will be preserved. CWPT is now taking donations. We hope you will make whatever contributions you can.

Carnton Plantation Opens New Visitors Center – Franklin, TN (From the Civil War Preservation Trust email)

By Kevin Walters, Nashville Tennessean (TN)

Today, visitors to Carnton Plantation will get their first glimpse inside a long planned project to bring modern amenities to a site with ties to Franklin’s Civil War past. The new, $1.2 million Fleming Center opens its doors for a soft opening Wednesday that Carnton supporters have been hoping would come for years. At 7,000 square feet, the new visitors center offers ample event and exhibit space, as well as new restrooms, water fountains and office space for staff. The center will replace the doublewide trailer used at the site for years.

The upgrade will improve visitors’ trips to the museum and will mean more guests can use Carnton for events like weddings and receptions, said Margie Thessin, plantation interim executive director. “For us, events are fund-raising,” Thessin said. “We really hope that people like to come out and take a look.” During the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864, the plantation’s main house was used as a hospital. It is adjacent to the McGavock Confederate Cemetery, the largest privately held Confederate cemetery.

The center, which sits behind where the trailer is located, is named after Sam Fleming, a Franklin native and Middle Tennessee banker who was a lifelong supporter of the museum. His widow, Valerie Fleming, raised money to build the center and name it after her husband. An official dedication ceremony will take place Sept. 12. Exhibits planned for the center include a new Battle of Franklin exhibit that will feature relics from the battle, including presentation swords and other artifacts. In September, the center will host an exhibit focusing on Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, who was defeated at the Battle of Franklin.

The center will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sundays, the center will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.

Civil War Museum of Philadelphia Has No Home (From the CWPT email and the Philadelphia Enquirer)

The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia has an important story to tell, but no place to tell it. The museum closed its cramped quarters in Center City last August, with plans to move into a new home near Independence National Historical Park. But since then, Gov. Rendell has rescinded a promised capital grant that would pay for renovation of the new home. The loss of funding prompted the National Park Service to withdraw its offer of a historic building at Third and Chestnut Streets. The museum may be forced to leave Philadelphia. “We’re really at a crisis point right now,” said Sharon Smith, the museum’s president and CEO.

The museum’s 3,000 artifacts are still in storage – letters from soldiers to their wives; a smoking jacket that belonged to Confederate President Jefferson Davis; a tree trunk studded with metal shell fragments from the Battle of Gettysburg; a Tiffany sword given to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant after he captured Vicksburg; and what is believed to be Robert E. Lee’s copy of the terms of surrender at Appomattox. It’s a collection that should be on display in Philadelphia, which played a key role in the emergence of African Americans from slavery to full citizenship. The city was the home of the first free community of blacks in the nation, a hub in the Underground Railroad, and an important stage for abolitionists.

Nine years ago, public officials felt the museum was so important to the city that they went to court to block its planned move to Richmond, Va. Among those who prevented the museum from leaving was the Republican state attorney general, Mike Fisher. That effort to save the collection resulted in former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo and Rep. James Roebuck (D., Phila.) securing $15 million in capital funding for the museum. In 2007, Rendell told museum officials he would release $8 million to $10 million of the capital grant.

But the governor later reneged. A spokesman for the governor said there are limited funds for capital projects and that “specific Philadelphia projects would be identified by the city.” The state has a budget crisis, but funding for capital projects does not come out of the general operating fund. And the bond money for this project was designated years ago. The museum would have an economic impact, drawing as many as 900,000 new visitors annually. Officials have raised more than $1 million in private pledges but say they need the grant money to leverage more donations.

The state should follow through with its commitment and help the museum find a new home in Philadelphia.

Roper’s Knob in Franklin, TN threatened with Devlopment (Save The Franklin Battlefield newsletter, July, 2009)

Local developer Charles Mitchell owns 210 acres around this historic hill north of Franklin, TN. Used as a Union Army signal station during the war, the site still features
earthworks from that era. Mitchell is planning to extend Cool Springs Boulevard into his property so it can be developed. This threatens land owned by the City of Franklin as well
as the State of Tennessee on the site. Mitchell’s property almost extends to the knob’s summit.

Recently, the Franklin Mayor and Aldermen have voted to delay any decision on approving the road until their August meeting, which was this past week. For the latest news on this
threat please visit the Save the Franklin Battlefield web site at: http://www.franklin-stfb.org.

Unknown Soldier Recovered From Fanklin Battlefield to be Reinterred at Historic Rest Haven Cemetary and Honored With Monument (From Sam Gant, Save the Franklin Battlefield)

A construction project in the area where the calamitous Battle of Franklin was fought on Nov. 30, 1864, has disturbed the resting place of an unknown soldier who was buried in a shallow grave 145 years ago during the tragic last days of the Civil War in Tennessee.

The City of Franklin’s Battlefield Task Force, along with local historians and government officials, led the recovery of the soldier’s remains and will direct a funeral ceremony to re-inter his body at the Historic Rest Haven Cemetery in downtown Franklin, where other brave veterans – both Union and Confederate – were laid to rest.
It is not known for which army the unknown soldier fought. A coffin containing his remains will lie in state at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 510 West Main Street in Franklin – the circa 1827 sanctuary which served as barracks for Federal troops during their occupation of the town in 1864 – from 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 until the funeral ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. One Union and one Confederate honor-guard sentry will be posted at the front doors of the church during the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. visitation period each day and prior to the ceremony on Saturday morning.

The soldier will receive full military honors from re-enactors representing brothers-in-arms from both the Union and the Confederacy. On Saturday morning, a Union and a Confederate Chaplain will conduct a brief funeral service in the church. Following the service, the casket will be borne from the church by uniformed pallbearers (Union and Confederate) and placed on a waiting, horse-drawn caisson in front of the church. A Monument to The Unknown Soldier who died on the Franklin Battlefield will be unveiled as part of the ceremony. Only uniformed reenactors can participate but the public is invited to attend. Any re-enactment unit that wishes to participate is encouraged to contact Robert Huff at (615) 500-8211, or via email at rghuff123@aol.com.

For more information please see http://www.visitfranklin.com.

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