October Meeting and Newsletter

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, October 21st, 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 Decker Twins; A Mission With the 32nd Indiana Volunteers”

John G. and Philip G. Decker were 21 year old twin brothers when recruited in Evansville, Indiana to serve in August Willich’s 32nd Indiana Infantry regiment. Following their recruitment, the brothers are mustered into Co. “K”, 32nd Indiana, on 21 Sept., 1861 at Camp Murphy, Indianapolis.

Using photographs, family letters, pension records and written histories of the 32nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry, a fascinating story unfolds about these German American privates. The battles and skirmishes at Rowlett’s Station, Shiloh, the siege at Corinth, Chesser’s Store, Stone’s River, Chickamauga, and the Confederate prisons at Richmond, and Andersonville are in the future for these eager recruits.
John G. Decker, who wrote the majority of the letters used, suffers from multiple ailments which requires hospital treatment following the siege at Corinth. Philip G. Decker faces capture and imprisonment following Stone’s River and Chickamauga; he later expires at Andersonville prison. Pension records and G.A.R. memorabilia belonging to John G. Decker complete the story of this veteran. The program will also touch on the officers and command changes affecting this proud German regiment. Germans were the largest foreign ethnic group to serve in the Union Army and still overlooked somewhat to this day but more and more study on their contributions is occurring every year.

T. Max Hochstetler is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of the Department of Art at Austin Peay State University. Retiring in 1999 after 32 years on the faculty, he remains active as art and antique collector. Known for his historic mural paintings at Opryland Hotel, and the Sundquist Science Building at APSU, his acrylic and watercolor paintings are found in many public, corporate, and private collections throughout the South and Midwest. No longer producing art, he has more time to devote to travel and his focused collection of 19th century Prussian/German carte de visitie and cabinet card portraits of theatre, opera, music, and royalty. Some of his photograph collection is scheduled for exhibit in Switzerland in 2010.


We were treated to a terrific program by Russ Bonds of Atlanta, the award winning author of Stealing The General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor. With full command of his topic and delivered with style and much humor, Mr. Bonds rewove one of the Civil War’s greatest stories, the topic of two feature films and several books over the years. The story of Andrew’s Raid, as it is also called, is one of hope for the Union side – the breaking of the critical railroad from Atlanta to Chattanooga by a group of soldiers disguised as civilians heading south to join the Confederate Army. Their plot started off very well and the locomotive, the General, was stolen right from under the eyes of the crew and a Confederate training camp! But things quickly went wrong for the crew began an unending chase that culminated with the raiders being captured north of Ringgold, Georgia. Some were hung as spies, including James Andrews, the leader. Some were sent to prison and escaped while others were exchanged later. Most of the survivors were the nation’s first recipients of the newly created Medal of Honor.

Mr. Bonds ended his fine program connecting the dots between the raiders and the then most recent American soldier who won a Medal of Honor in Iraq. A new recipient was announced a week later also for Iraq and also posthumously. This is not only a wonderful story but it is a great tale of valor and it has its finest story teller in Russ Bonds.

We cannot praise this program highly enough for other CWRTs and we look forward to having Russ back to see us in Nashville.


November, 2009 – Jim Hoobler, Tennessee State Museum – “Occupied Nashville”
December, 2009 – TBA
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”
July, 2010 – Joseph Reinhart, Louisville CWRT and author – “Germans in the Civil War”

MEMBERS AND DUES: – Your name badge will have two ribbons if you are current with your dues.

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

To our many guests – 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. We have a very special item coming up at this meeting!!!


Carnton Plantation in historic Franklin hosts John Bell Hood exhibit and offers Civil War Lectures
Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN, now has the new Fleming Center with expanded museum space, gift shop and other amenities. Currently ongoing in the museum is a special
exhibit of artifacts from Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, commander of the Army of Tennessee in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign of late 1864. Containing items from
descendants as well as the Museum of the Confederacy, the exhibit includes swords, his uniform frock coat, a saddle, documents, flags and more.
Carnton also has a series of Civil War lectures. The next two are:
October 26 – 6 pm: “If The Floors Could Talk” will feature Craig Moor, blood stain pattern expert.


Carnton will host a panel discussion covering the career of Gen. John Bell Hood on Friday, November 6 at 6 p.m. in the event room of the Fleming Center. It is FREE to the public and will last about 1 ½ hours. Panelists will include Eric A. Jacobson (author, historian), Sam Hood (Hood expert, descendant), Sam Elliot (author, historian) and Brandon Beck (University of Mississippi).

The lectures are free to the public. For more information, hours, directions, etc. visit http://www.carnton.org. Further lectures are being planned along with their annual Battle of Franklin
celebrations and Christmas programs.
Historic Ft. Negley Offers Haunted Halloween Tours – October 30, 2009

Ft. Negley, a unit of Nashville’s Metro Parks, offers a Civil War haunted history tour on Friday, October 30th at 7 PM. Meet with period reenactors offering tales of Civil War ghosts
of the area as you tour historic Ft. Negley. This free event for the whole family is open to the public but reservations are required.

Please RSVP to Ft. Negley’s visitors center by calling (615)862-8470 and be prepared for a ghostly grand time!

Battle of Nashville Preservation Society Civil War Seminar at Ft.Negley

The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society’s Civil War conference is slated for Nashville’s historic Ft. Negley Park. This educational event will be held on Saturday, November 21st, 2009 and it runs from 8:30 AM through 4:30 PM. Included in the conference is a tour and lunch and the fee is only $40 (before November 1st) and $45 thereafter. Seating is limited and it is first come, first in. The speakers include:
Sarah Boyd – Williamson County, TN history teacher – The Roots of the Civil War: How Our Forefathers Passed the Buck

Carole S. Boyd – history professor at Volunteer State Community College – Storm Clouds On The Horizon: Nashville In The Decade Before the Civil War

Myers Brown – History and Extension Services Curator, Tennessee State Museum – Spies, Scouts and Guerrillas: Irregular Warfare in Middle Tennessee

Krista Castillo – Museum Coordinator, Ft. Negley Park/Nashville CWRT – Finding Peace: Reconstructing Middle Tennessee

Thomas Flagel – history professor, Columbia State Community College – Appomattox: The Place of Lee’s Surrender and a National Resurrection

John Allyn – Battle of Nashville Preservation Society/Nashville City Cemetery Association – The Nashville City Cemetery (and tour guide for the tour there)

The symposium is sponsored by the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society and Nashville Metro Parks.

Make your check payable to BONPS and send to BONPS, c/o Ft. Negley Visitors Center, 1100 Ft. Negley Blvd., Nashville, TN 37203. Remember seating is limited and the fee includes lunch and the tour. If you want a vegetarian lunch please make that known.

Ft. Negley and Tennessee Historical Society Civil War Lecture Series

Ft. Negley Park and the Tennessee Historical Society are having a series of lectures in honor of the 145th Anniversary of Hood’s Tennessee Campaign of 1864. All events will be held at Ft. Negley’s Visitor’s Center as part of the THS Fall Membership series. The events are free and open to the public.

The lectures, dates and presenters are as follows – programs run from 5:30 to 7 PM:

October 27th, 2009 – Krista Castillo (Ft. Negley, Austin Peay State University and Nashville CWRT) – “The Roles Of Women in Union Occupied Nashville”

November 10, 2009 – Christopher Kiernan Coleman (Hendersonville, TN) – “Son of the Gods; Ambrose Bierce and the Tennessee Campaign of 1864”

November 24, 2009 – Kent Moran (Memphis State University) – “The Long Goodbye: The End of the Isham Harris Administration and His Exile”

December 8, 2009 – Timothy B. Smith (University of Tennessee-Martin) – “What Could Have Been: Battlefield Preservation at Franklin”

For further information visit the THS web site at http://www.tennesseehistory.org or call (615)741-8934 – or email at info@tennesseehistory.org

The series is sponsored by the Tennessee Civil War National Preservation Area, Metro Nashville Parks and the Tennessee Historical Society.

New Civil War battlefield visitors centers open in Virginia (From Susan Claffey, District of Columbia CWRT)

New Five Forks Visitor Center: A new visitor center opened Oct. 3 at Five Forks, Virginia describing the April 1, 1865, battle that turned Robert E. Lee’s flank at Petersburg (VA). Confederate Gen. George Pickett’s troops were crushed by a massive Union attack which lead to an even larger assault the next day along Hatcher’s Run. The center is located near the old NPS contact station at the actual Five Forks intersection, southwest of Petersburg. For directions and further information visit: http://www.nps.gov/pete/index.htm. Site manager is former Petersburg NPS historian Chris Calkins, a noted authority on the Petersburg area battles.

New Shenandoah Visitor Center: The latest Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District orientation center has opened in the Harrisonburg (VA) visitor center at the historic Hardesty-Higgins House. This center focuses on Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign including the Cross Keys and Port Republic battlefields and the story of the burning of area farm buildings and homes in 1864. The center is open 9 am-5 pm daily and is free. The other Valley battlefield centers are located in Winchester and McDowell. For more information please visit – ShenandoahAtWar.org

Kentucky Institutes Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear came to the Richmond, Kentucky, battlefield on Wednesday, September 2, and signed an executive order creating the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and announced a $1 million grant to fund it. The year 2011 will mark the 150th anniversary of the war’s outbreak, and the commission will recommend events to commemorate the observance.

Members of the 25 member commission will be appointed by November 1, and should conduct its first meeting in March 2010, according to a news release from the governor’s office. “This will be a four year commemoration and not a celebration,” Beshear said. “We don’t want to glorify war. We want to remember the Kentuckians who fought and died in the conflict, the suffering of its people and the changes brought by the war, especially the freedom of African-American slaves.” While the conflict threatened to split the nation in two, “In no other state were the people more divided that Kentucky,” the governor said. Of the 150,000 Kentuckians who fought in the war, more than twice as many fought for the Union as for the Confederacy. The division was dramatically symbolized, Beshear said, by two Kentuckians—Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis—who served, respectfully, as presidents of the Union and Confederate governments. Beshear noted that statues of opposing leaders stand the rotunda of the state capitol in Frankfort.
Beshear also presented Madison County Judge/Executive Kent Clark with an oversized check for $440,000, with will be used to enhance the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky’s, Battlefield Park, namely the Pleasant View House, which dates to 1824 and served as a hospital during the Battle of Richmond. Both grants came from transportation enhancement funds.

Chickamauga, Georgia, Names Road to Honor Union Troops (From the Civil War Preservation Trust newsletter)

Highway 341 in Chickamauga is now the U.S. Army of the Cumberland Highway after an official naming ceremony earlier this month. Chickamauga City Manager and Georgia Civil War Commission Chairman John Culpepper said the highway traces the route Union forces took to the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. “Most people don’t key in to all of the paths and the mountains the men had to march over,” he said. “They were everywhere.”

The new designation applies to a section of the highway from its intersection with Highway 193 northward to its intersection with Gordon Street downtown. Mr. Culpepper said naming this street, along with other designations across North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee, can help give people a better idea of the troop movements. “This is telling the whole story of the whole campaign in all of these counties,” he said.

Richard Barclift, Chickamauga tourism director, said having the route named in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in 2011 could help draw tourists. “The 150th is going to be the major celeb throughout the country,” he said. “For us, (naming the highway) may not be that big of a deal, but for descendants of the veterans who fought in the battle from Indiana and Ohio, I think it’s a pretty big deal.” Mr. Culpepper said the route’s designation could bring a few visitors south from Chickamauga National Battlefield. “We want to be part of their battlefield experience,” he said.

Next, Mr. Culpepper said he wants to get a section of U.S. Highway 27 renamed CSA Army of Tennessee Highway because the Confederate army used a similar route to where the highway lies. Like Highway 341, the road’s name change would have to be voted on by the Legislature. He said the more historic routes that can honor an area’s history, the better.

“It all has connections,” he said. “It all brings history back to life.”

Fredericksburg, VA battlefield preservation DVD for sale to raise funds (From Scott Eyestone, Fredericksburg, VA CWRT)

Please ccome visit us and enjoy the fields at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Courthouse. Our National Park Service people are the most friendly, well-informed, dedicated, and underpaid Rangers in the Service. Private guides such as Hallowed Ground Tours are also available and can offer “custom” tours. We’re also working hard on battlefield preservation. It looks like we may have lost the WalMart at The Wilderness battle, but we’ve been winning on other fronts. Please see http://www.cvbt.org/ for current information on saved land.

Of course the acquired dirt and grass needs to be paid for. A partnership of the Fredericksburg CW Round Table and Central Virginia Battlefields Trust produced a video product named Civil War Fredericksburg: Then & Now. Please see http://www.cvbt.org/CVBT_FCWRT_DVD.html for a trailer and information. The DVD runs two hours. If anyone in the Clarksville or Nashville clubs would like to order either edition, there is a link from the information page to the online order page.

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