March Newsletter and Meeting Notice

(Webmistress note: Sorry for the late update, but the flu has laid me low!)

March 17th, 2010 – Our 72nd Meeting! HAPPY SIXTH ANNIVERSARY!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, March 17th, 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.

OUR SPEAKER AND TOPIC:

“THE BATTLE OF THOMPSON’S STATION – MARCH 5TH, 1863”

In the aftermath of the Battle of Stones River, the Union Army of the Cumberland and Confederate Army of Tennessee went into winter quarters at Murfreesboro and Tullahoma, TN respectively, to prepare for the coming spring campaign. However, winter was not a complete time of rest for either side, in particular for the cavalry. The Union cavalry was rebuilding under new leadership and to test themselves they went after Confederate General Braxton’ Bragg’s right flank east of Murfreesboro held by Gen. John Hunt Morgan. The Confederate cavalry in the West, meanwhile, had been built to its greatest strength of the war; some 16,000 veteran troopers under Generals Joe Wheeler, John Hunt Morgan, Van Dorn, Forrest and William Hicks Jackson. All of them would see a lot of action, especially under Van Dorn, Jackson and Forrest, who would hurl themselves at Federal outposts on Bragg’s left flank. One of these outposts was at Thompson’s Station not too far south of Franklin, TN.

A brigade of Union troops under Col. John Coburn headed south from Franklin towards Columbia on a raid and foraging expedition for food and animal fodder. While heading south he collided with Confederate cavalry under corps commander Earl Van Dorn and two divisions lead by William Jackson and Forrest near Thompson’s Station on the Nashville & Decatur Railroad. Initially repulsing Jackson’s dismounted assault, it was when Forrest gained Coburn’s rear taking his wagons that Coburn found himself in deep trouble. He would end up surrendering his entire brigade of some 1500 men.

Noted historian Thomas Cartwright, well known to all of us in Tennessee, will inform us of the events of this battle and some of the lesser known incidents involved including the participation of two 17 year olds, Willie Forrest, the general’s son and Annie Thompson, who lived in Homestead Manor literally on the battlefield, as well as Forrest’s horse Roderick. Cartwright is currently writing a book on this famous raid which ended up driving a wedge between Van Dorn and Forrest. He will also inform us of current preservation plans for the battlefield.

Thomas Cartwright is the former director of the Carter House Historic Site in Franklin, TN. He has been involved with Civil War television shows like Civil War Journal, and has spoken to dozens of Civil War groups across the country. A gifted storyteller, Cartwright is currently leading tours for the Lotz House Museum in Franklin as well as with noted historian David Hinze of Missouri. Thomas will have copies of his new CD entitled, The Battle Of Franklin: A Driving Tour, for sale at our meeting.

LAST MONTH’S MEETING

Dr. Wallace Cross of Austin Peay State University delivered a wonderful and very entertaining program on the leadership of the Union and Confederate armies in the Ft. Henry-Donelson Campaign. Laced with barbs, jabs and even praise, Dr. Cross gave the membership a no holds barred assessment of such men as Gideon Pillow and John Floyd, and even took on Simon Bolivar Buckner. Union commanders under fire included John McClernand and Lew Wallace. While US Grant was the best of the lot, Dr. Cross still offered his assessment of him in the campaign that was not all praise. Dr. Cross also noted that he would get much better over time.

The Clarksville CWRT sure enjoyed this program and we look forward to having Dr. Cross back with us in the future.

FUTURE PROGRAMS:

April, 2010 – Minoa Uffelman and others – “Nannie Haskins’ Civil War”
May, 2010 – John Walsh, Clarksville CWRT – “Civil War Artillery”
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”
September, 2010 – TBA
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”
December, 2010 – speaker TBA

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:

Ö Student – $10

Ö Single membership – $20

Ö Family – $30

Ö Military – Active duty and veterans – $15

Ö Military family – Active duty and family – $25

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 another special item coming up at this meeting!!

Clarksville CWRT election time!

As decided by the membership, officer elections are held annually on our anniversary month, which is ever March. The four posts open are president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. The president would like to propose the post of preservation chair in addition to the other posts. If you wish to stand for election for any of these positions please make it known at the upcoming meeting.

CIVIL WAR NEWS AND EVENTS:

Trigg County Civil War Days – March 19th-21st, 2010 – Cadiz, Kentucky

Our neighbors in Kentucky have a wonderful Civil War event that will be held on March 19th-21st in Cadiz. The venue is West Cadiz Park. Cadiz is located off I-24 at Exit 65 only 35 miles or so from Clarksville. The event is sponsored by the Cadiz Merchant’s Association and more information can be found on their web site – http://www.cadizmerchants.com. Please support our neighbors by attending this free event!

Development Threat to Ft. Stevens in Washington, DC. (From Susan Claffey, Civil War Roundtable of the District of Columbia)

Ft. Stevens is part of the defenses constructed by the Union Army to protect Washington DC during the Civil War. It was built in 1861 on land partially owned by Elizabeth Thomas, a free woman of color and a farmer. It was originally named Ft. Massachusetts and built to protect the Seventh Street Turnpike into Washington. It was later expanded and renamed Ft. Stevens.

Fort Massachusetts/Stevens was actually built on the location of Emory Chapel and the church building was incorporated into the fort and was used as a barracks, a hospital, a jail and a healing station to support Fort Stevens. Ft. Stevens claim to fame was when it became the point of attack as Confederate General Jubal Early approached Washington from the north via the Seventh Street Turnpike. President Abraham Lincoln came out to observe the battle from the fort and came under enemy fire while viewing the fighting on July 12, 1864. This is supposedly the only time in our nation‘s history when a sitting President came under fire during battle. (Editor’s Note: Future US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes tackled President Lincoln to prevent him from being shot. There is a marker on one of the fort’s walls showing where this happened.)

In 1870 the Emory Church building of the Civil War era was torn down and rebuilt. In 1922, it was again torn down and rebuilt and this is the church’s present building. The church property’s uniqueness is due to its distinct topography and it has become known as, “Church on a Hill.” It has long had a historical association with Fort Stevens. The existing church structure sits on a 14-foot high berm which is considered a remnant of Fort Stevens.

The church has a lofty and laudable goal. They want to help revitalize their neighborhood, which indeed needs help, by building a mixed used development of affordable housing and retail spaces. They are open to including an interpretive center for the fort in their project. The problem Civil War buffs have with this is that they want to do their own design. It is planned to be five stories tall and will be built right up to the property line with the Ft. Stevens property owned by the NPS. The five story development will have the loading docks and dumpsters, etc. for the project and be in full view of visitors to the fort because the fort is, in essence, the back yard of Emory Church.

Here is link to the plan: http://www.emoryfellowship.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=56304 Here is an aerial view showing the church and Ft. Stevens: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=emory+church,&sll=38.964389,-77.028767&sspn=0.001376,0.002401&ie=UTF8&radius=0.06&split=1&rq=1&ev=zi&hq=emory+church,&hnear=&ll=38.964389,-77.028767&spn=0.001376,0.002401&t=h&z=19

The plan is to build right up to a little strip of road between the two. It has been suggested that the front of Fort Stevens become green space and a front yard to the project and put the busy side of the development on Georgia Avenue or Quackenbos.

The NPS has neglected Ft. Stevens and the rest of the remaining fortifications around Washington that are in their care for decades. They fell asleep at the switch on this one and were unaware until the final hour of Emory’s plans. Had they been active with the community and the Church, they would have known far in advance and perhaps could have influenced those plans. Emory had to file for a zoning variance from DC to build their project. They received that variance on February 23. Thus Round One has been lost as an opportunity to alter the plans. The Church rejected any suggested changes during this process as infeasible. Preservationist’s only hope now rests on them receiving Federal funding of some type that might bring the National Preservation Act to bear.

From Gail Stephens, our October speaker, “the only thing I’d add is that the church is open to some kind of a visitor center in the new retail spaces but only if the NPS will do it. The big issue, as Susan state in her last paragraph, is NPS commitment to the site. The NPS in DC has so many important spaces, (the Big Kahuna is the Mall), that a CW site, even if it is the place where a Confederate army came within a hair’s breadth of seizing the Union capital, falls way down their list of priorities. As folks who understand the importance and the “draw” of CW sites, roundtables need to be in the front line pushing the NPS.”

Parker’s Crossroads Spring Lantern Walk – Saturday, March 13th, 2010

The Parkers Crossroads Battlefield Spring Lantern Walk is scheduled for Saturday, March 13 to begin at dusk. Groups will be guided thru the battlefield by lantern light, with each walk lasting approximately 45 minutes. Scenes of soldiers and civilians sharing stories taken from the letters and diaries of the period will highlight the tour. Visitors are asked to register at tour stop 7 which is located south of I-40 at Exit 108. Turn east onto Federal Lane traveling approximately 1/4 mile to the battlefield parking area. The event is free to the public. Trails are wheelchair accessible. For more information call the battlefield visitors center at 731-968-1191 or visit http://www.parkerscrossroads.com.

Lt. Col. Tom McKinney, Author of “Jack Hinson’s One-Man War” at Ft. Negley, March 20th.

Union Man Turned Confederate Sniper

Jack Hinson, a prosperous and influential plantation owner, from Stewart County, supported the Union until a Federal cavalry officer murdered his sons. Hinson, nearly sixty years old, began a one-man war against Grant’s army killing more than one hundred men and capturing an armed transport. Pursued by infantry, cavalry and a task force of Marines, Hinson evaded capture. After fifteen years of research, Lt. Col. Tom McKenney reveals the story of Jack Hinson for the first time.

Lt. Col. McKinney will offer a program on Hinson and sign his book. The event is free and open to the public and begins at 2 PM.

Ft. Negley’s Silver Screen Saturdays series continues this month!

Ft. Negley Park will continue its wonderful Silver Screen Saturdays on Saturday, March 27th, 2010. This series, which has featured Civil War movies over the past year, continues with the famous Ken Burns series on the Civil War. Part Two will be shown at 2 PM on the 27th and successive months will feature other episodes. Ft. Negley has a wonderful video and sound system in its theater so this will be a most enjoyable experience for the whole family. For more information please call (615) 862-8470.

Civil War Living History Event in Montgomery County at Port Royal State Park – April 18th, 2010

The March to the Past will take place on April 18, 2010, between 1:00 and 5:00 pm. This will be a Civil War living history event that will include the firing of reproduction Civil War cannons, demonstrations of camp life, and examples of the every day skills needed to survive in the mid-1800’s. There will also be exhibits of medical instruments from this time period along with discussions of their uses. The event takes place on Old Clarksville-Springfield Road adjacent to Port Royal State Park. From Nashville, take I-24 towards Clarksville and get off at Exit 11 and turn right. Follow the signs for the park.

The event is free to the public.

March 20th, 2010 – 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.

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