January Meeting and Newsletter

Clarksville Civil War Roundtable

Founded March, 2004 – Clarksville, Tennessee

January 20th, 2010 – Our 70th Meeting!

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

What decade is this really? Many people think 2010 is the start of the second decade of the 21st Century but it is not. Centuries and decades always start with the odd numbered year. The 20th Century ended in 2000 (hence the “20th” part while the rest of the years had a “19” in front) and the 21st Century, and its first decade, both started on January 1st, 2001. The century ends December 31st, 2100. So we have to wait until 2011 for the second decade to begin. For more information see the web site of the U.S. Naval Observatory, the official time keepers of the United States.


“Preserving The Civil War In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley”

The Civil War in the Valley of Virginia, better known as the Shenandoah Valley, consists of a number of battles fought between 1862 and 1864. One can even say that things there began in 1861 when Virginia state troops seized Harper’s Ferry at the lower end. Of course the battles in the valley in 1862 were made famous by the lightning moves of CS Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson made his fame at such battles like Front Royal, Port Republic. McDowell and Kernstown. In 1864, the Confederates began the year on the offensive and ended it defensively. Battles like Third Winchester, Cedar Creek, and Tom’s Brook were defeats while New Market was a victory. One can drive up and down Interstate 81 or US Highway 11 (the old valley Turnpike) and see Civil War history all over. While still largely rural, growth is threatening many of these sites and a battlefield preservation group was formed to save what could be save.

Our speaker this month is Howard Kittell, former director of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, and his program will discuss the problems and triumphs of saving ten of these important fields from destruction and development while promoting them to tourists. The Battlefields Foundation is the manager of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, a congressionally-enacted national heritage area.

Now President and CEO of The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville, TN, Mr. Kittell previously ran the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation for 10 years. He has extensive experience directing preservation societies in Rhode Island and Philadelphia as well as the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. He holds degrees from Michigan State University as well as the University of Virginia. His wife Jennifer Esler, was just named Director of the Battle of Franklin Trust which now oversees the operations of both Carnton and the Carter House in Franklin, TN. They have two grown children, Jeffery, a West Point graduate, and Elizabeth, a graduate of the University of Virginia.


Our own Karel Lea Biggs gave us her latest program, “It is a Happy Thing These Days to Be Obscure – Women and Civilians in Occupied Middle Tennessee,” which covered the trials and tribulations of civilians caught in the direct path of the Civil War in Middle Tennessee. While this happened in other parts of the South as well, the Middle Tennessee model offers an illustration of how it sometimes did not matter which side showed up, you were often caught on the losing end. With ample examples from her research backed by a Power Point program, Karel showed us all that the war was much more than just battles. For CWRTs looking for a good program on civilians this one fits the bill nicely.


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”
April, 2010 – Minoa Uffelman and others – “Nannie Haskins’ Civil War”
May, 2010 – John Walsh, Clarksville CWRT – topic TBA
June, 2010 – Tracy Jackson, Clarksville CWRT – “Eight Southern Governors”
July, 2010 – Joseph Reinhart, Louisville CWRT and author – “McCook’s Dutchmen: The 9th Ohio Infantry”
August, 2010 – Tom Parsons, Historian/ranger, Corinth National Battlefield – “The Battles For Corinth”
October, 2010 – Gail Stephens, author – “General Lew Wallace” (based on her upcoming book)
November, 2010 – Dr. William Glenn Robertson, US Army Combat Studies Institute, Ft. Leavenworth, KS “A Tale of Two Orders in the Battle of Chickamauga”

MEMBERS AND DUES: – Your name badge will have two ribbons if you are current with your dues. If it only has the blue ribbon, please pay your dues at this meeting!

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 – Thank you for much for coming to see what we are about. By joining us your dues money goes towards helping to pay the travel expenses for the speakers 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!!!

Special Clarksville CWRT Silent Auction!

Clarksville CWRT member, Irene Alhgrim, has donated a lovely, framed copy of the heroic painting, The Last Meeting.
This painting depicts Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at dawn on the day of the Battle of Chancellorsville
May 2nd 1863. This is a copy of the painting originally done by E. B. D. Julio (the original is in the Museum of the Confederacy),
and features both men astride their famous mounts. A truly wonderful donation, we have decided to offer this as a silent auction
item for a period of three months (November, December, January). The high bid at this month’s meeting will be the lucky recipient
of this gorgeous work of art.


Date set for the annual “Legacy of Stones River” conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

“The Legacy of Stones River: Why They Fought” symposium will take place on Saturday, March 20, 2010, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Murfreesboro, TN. The program features programs by Keith Bohannon, Sam Davis Elliott, and Kenneth Noe at the historic Rutherford County Courthouse in the morning, followed by park ranger-led programs at Stones River National Battlefield in the afternoon. The courthouse is in downtown Murfreesboro. The fee for the day is only $10 and the event is sponsored by Stones River National Battlefield and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area

Bohannon of the University of West Georgia, has written extensively about the war, including essays on John Bell Hood and the Battle of Chickamauga. Elliott, an attorney in Chattanooga, is the author of the forthcoming Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator as well as the biography of Tennessee CS General Alexander P. Stewart. Noe is the Draughon Professor of Southern History at Auburn University and has authored books on Perryville and other topics. His latest book, Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army After 1861, will be published this year.

The $10 registration fee includes continental breakfast. Call 615-893-9501 or visit http://www.nps.gov/stri or http://www.tncivilwar.org to download a registration brochure. When you are on the TCWNA’s website be sure to click on the “Calendar of Events” button for other great programs that are coming up over the winter and into spring.

New Battle Of Franklin Driving Tour CD Available

Speaking of Thomas Cartwright, he has a new CD out entitled The Battle Of Franklin: A Driving Tour. The basis of the CD is an audio tour of the Battle of Franklin that you play in your car while driving to the 26 stops outlined therein. Cartwright offers a narraration of the battle and then directs you while on the tour to each site and explains the events there. It’s almost like having him on tour with you! And we all know how well Thomas knows this battle!

This tour CD is available by contacting the Lotz House Museum in Franklin, Tennessee. The cost is $24.95 with a bit extra for shipping. Discounts are available for quantity purchases. You can pick it up the next time you are in Franklin (the Lotz House is right across the street from the Carter House) or contact them about getting it by mail. Visit their website at http://www.thelotzhouse.com or send them an email at: info@lotzhouse.com.

Ft. Negley Civil War Site in Nashville to Remain Open But With Reduced Hours – A Note From the Museum Specialist Krista Castillo – THANK YOU!!!

The news came to me as a complete shock in the last week of October. Although I knew that Nashville Metro Parks faced a budget crisis, I never expected to learn from an article in The Tennessean that my job was on the chopping block. In a closed-door meeting, Metro Parks director Roy Wilson and the Board voted unanimously to eliminate seven full-time positions in an effort to stabilize a $1 Million budget deficit. The plan primarily affected the Ft. Negley Visitors Center and four nature centers already understaffed. The nature centers faced closures and reduced hours while Ft. Negley would lose the Museum Specialist, its only employee. The article went on to state that Ft. Negley would operate with limited hours using an employee transferred from the Parthenon, a Metro Parks art museum.

As Ft. Negley’s only employee for nearly a year, I naturally felt betrayed, unappreciated and disposable. I struggled with the reality that Metro Parks had failed to notice Ft. Negley’s value and potential and, on a more personal level, my own sweat and tears. I feared the months of creating public programming, building Ft. Negley’s reputation and forming relationships with others in the Civil War community would be lost. Fortunately, supporters lead by Greg Biggs, Clarksville CWRT president and Nashville CWRT Program Chair, sprang into action. Letters and emails flooded Mayor Karl Dean’s office from across the country and local supporters packed the tight corridor outside Parks Board meetings. Their efforts paid off; within weeks, Metro Parks abandoned their plan and began exploring other options. The budget plan adopted in November, unfortunately, included layoffs and cutbacks. On January 5, Ft. Negley began reduced hours of operation. On December 31, Roy Wilson, under public scrutiny, left his post.

I cannot thank everyone enough for their efforts which ultimately averted Ft. Negley’s demise, solidified the importance of preserving Civil War heritage and saved me from heartbreak. Although Metro parks faces a long and difficult struggle, I am confident that friends and supporters will not allow Ft. Negley to fade once more into obscurity. Our hours are now: Tuesday-Friday, Noon to 4 PM; Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM. For appointments please call (615)862-8470. Ft. Negley Park is open daily from Dawn to Dusk for self-guided walking tours.

Thanks to all CWRT members from across the country that took a few minutes to send those emails. This shows what the national Civil War Roundtable movement can do! Well done and thanks for helping this great site and a very dedicated employee! – Greg Biggs

Historian: Paducah Site Could Yield Civil War Relics (From the CWPT newsletter/Louisville KY Courier-Journal) 12/20/2009

A Western Kentucky historian is calling for the site of a defunct hotel to be excavated and searched for any relics from a Civil War battle. Human remains and artifacts from the Battle of Paducah, which was fought in 1864 at the site of Fort Anderson, could be buried where the Executive Inn once stood in Paducah, said Murray State University professor Ken Carstens. The Paducah Sun reported that 20th-century industrial development and the 1980s construction of the hotel and convention center disturbed some battlefield areas. Carstens said there could still be significant artifacts. He also said some areas of the fort have not been disturbed. “We all realize the importance of developing a new hotel and want that to happen,” he said. “My point is historic preservation.”

The hotel initially closed in April 2008 and operated sporadically thereafter. It shut down for the last time in June after the electricity was turned off. The hotel is also at the center of a $3.5million lawsuit over a loan. The city plans to complete the purchase of the closed hotel this week and wants to have the building torn down next year. Authorities say they will solicit proposals from private developers for a new hotel. City Manager Jim Zumwalt said he’s aware of the federal requirement to survey sites that may have archaeological significance. An archaeologist will be hired to conduct the required study, he said. Zumwalt said the historic significance could be incorporated into later plans, such as having public recognition of the fort and archaeological findings.

Carstens said the Battle of Paducah included members of the 8th and 13th Kentucky Colored Heavy Artillery Unit. He wants any archaeological work completed before the hotel is demolished.

“General” Historic Site in Line For Makeover (CWPT newsletter/Chattanooga TN Times Free Press) 12/22/2009

The Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to help Catoosa County commissioners spend a $2,500 grant awarded to the county in 2007. The state grant can be spent only for improvements to the site where The General locomotive was abandoned at the end of the Great Locomotive Chase in 1862. The money has been sitting in an account since it was awarded as officials tried to determine how it might best be used. Members of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp brought up the issue at a recent County Commission meeting.

In 1862, a group of Union soldiers and a Union spy stole a locomotive, The General, in what is now Kennesaw, Ga., and drove the train toward Chattanooga while trying to burn bridges and cut telegraph wires along the way. The General ran out of steam about two miles north of Ringgold, where a large marble marker has stood since 1901. The grant will be used for improvements to the site, but commissioners and Sons of Confederate Veterans camp members have debated about an additional plaque, directional signs informing drivers of the marker or more parking space along state Highway 151, where the marker sits. Committee member Tom Poteet said all the options were improvements, but whatever is done needs to be completed by the 150th anniversary of the chase in 2012.

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