November Meeting Notice and Newsletter

November 17th, 2010 – Our 80th Meeting!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, November 17th in our new home at the Bone & Joint Center, 980 Professional Park Drive, right across the street from Gateway Hospital. This is just off Dunlop Lane and Holiday Drive and only a few minutes east of Governor’s Square mall. 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.


“A Tale Of Two Orders: The Polk-Wood Controversy at Chickamauga”

Of all of the battles fought in the Western Theater, Chickamauga is the most difficult to understand. This is entirely due to the wooded terrain where lines of sight are not very long coupled with not having a single place from which can be seen most of the field. Into this north Georgia jungle two armies tangled for three days (there was a full day of battle on September 18th, 1863). The two commanders, William S. Rosecrans and Braxton Bragg, depended more on subordinates to fight their parts in it and reacted to information, good and bad, that came into their headquarters. Bragg’s Confederates were heavily reinforced and his command structure became even more unwieldy than it already was when he reorganized his army on the field during the night of September 19th-20th. He then ordered an attack for early the next morning and sent orders to his wing commanders to carry them out. This is the tale of one of those orders sent to General Leonidas Polk.

On Rosecrans’ side, a recon of his line “showed” a gap between Wood’s and Reynold’s Divisions. In reality, Brannan’s Division was between them but hidden in the woods. An order from Rosecrans’ headquarters went out to Wood which was poorly written. Wood obeyed what he could and that set up the disaster for the Federals later that day. This is the tale of the second order. Both orders were issued within hours of each other and they culminated on September 20th.

We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. William Glenn Robertson of the Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Dr. Robertson is well known in the Civil War community as THE expert on all things Chickamauga Campaign and he wrote the brilliant five part series on the campaign in Blue & Gray magazine a few years ago. He is also the author of Back Door To Richmond: The Bermuda Hundred Campaign, April-June, 1864 along with numerous staff ride manuals for the U.S. Army. He has a supremely busy schedule working with the fine officers of our Army and it is very hard to get him away to talk to CWRTs.

Do NOT miss this program. You will learn more about Chickamauga than you have ever known.


A good turnout heard one of the best programs this reviewer has ever seen at a CWRT. Gail Stephens, a volunteer guide at Monocacy National Battlefield in Maryland and author of the new book Shadow Of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War, gave us a detailed and interesting program on the life of General Lew Wallace. The Indiana native experienced the Mexican War, became a politician and with the coming of the Civil War, re-joined the military as state adjutant general and then colonel of the 11th Indiana Zoauves. Promotion came quickly and Wallace became a brigade commander under Grant at Fort Henry and then a division commander at Fort Donelson.

It was at Shiloh, however, where Wallace came under criticism for being tardy to the field to help save Grant on the first day. Gail was part of a group of historians that walked the route of march and found that it took them only slightly longer with a small group than Wallace took with a full infantry division. But other controversies remained and Wallace again became bedeviled. Fortunately others thought the better of him and he was given charge of saving Cincinnati in 1862 and Washington City in 1864. All of this interesting career was presented with full command of the subject and often with humor. It was backed by a fine Power Point program that covered Wallace’s combat actions.

This was an excellent program and we highly suggest it to other interested groups!


December, 2010 – John Marler, Battle of Franklin Trust/former Petersburg National Battlefield – The Petersburg Campaign
January, 2011 – Mike Manning, Fort Donelson National Battlefield, “The Honey Springs Campaign, Indian Territory”
February, 2011 – Krista Castillo, Fort Negley Visitors Center – “From the Pages of Harper’s Weekly: The Illustrations of Thomas Nast, Reconstruction Politics and Popular Consciousness”
March, 2011 – David Simpson, Robert Hatton Camp, SCV, Lebanon, TN – “Ellis Harper – Guerrilla or Partisan?”
April, 2010 – Thomas Flagel, Columbia State Community College – “Great Panic Prevails: How The Press Reported The Battle Of Nashville”
May, 2011 – Kent Wright, Tennessee Valley CWRT, “Ellet’s Rams”
June, 2011 – James Swan, author, – “Chicago’s Irish Legion In Dixie – The 90th Illinois Infantry.”
July, 2011 – Bobby Krick, historian, Richmond National Battlefield – “The Staff Of Robert E. Lee”
August, 2011 – TBA
September, 2011 – TBA
October, 2011 – TBA
November, 2011 – Eric Jacobson, Battle of Franklin Trust – “Baptism of Fire: The Role of Federal Recruits at the Battle of Franklin”
December, 2011 – TBA

MEMBERS AND DUES: – Your name badge will have a white ribbon if you are current with your dues. If it only has ribbons of other colors, please pay your dues at this meeting! July is our dues month so please make your plans to pay them at this meeting! Thank you if you have already done so.

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, veterans, 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!!


Civil War Ball in Clarksville – Benefit for Fort Defiance, November 13, 2010

On Saturday, November 13th, a benefit ball will be held in Clarksville’s famous Smith-Trahern Mansion. This is one of the city’s finest ante-bellum homes and is a great place for these events. The funds will go to the Friends of Fort Defiance which supports the efforts of Clarksville’s remaining Civil War fort. This fort was built by the Confederates and used by the occupying Federals and became the site of a contraband camp. Several events will take place as follows:

3pm – Honor Ceremony in the cemetery next to the Smith-Trahern Mansion.
4 to 5pm – mingling and silent auction bids
5pm – Dinner with dancing to follow
10pm – Dancing ends, silent auction items awarded

Tickets are $30. If you can’t make the Honor Ceremony, you can still enjoy the dinner and dancing. For tickets contact Phyllis Smith phone at (931) 551-4560 or by email: We hope that you will show up and support this wonderful fund raising event right in our own back yard! Phyllis and her team work very hard on this event every year!

Franklin, TN Civil War Roundtable program – Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Our fine neighbors of the Franklin CWRT will present Jim Kay of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society and his program Meltdown At Nashville: Hood’s Final Finality. Mr. Kay is director and past president of this preservation organization and very knowledgeable about the battle. The CWRT meets at the Williamson County Library and the program begins at 3 PM. This is just south of the Carter House on Columbia Pike in Franklin.

Tennessee Civil War 150th Event Kick-Off – November 12-13, 2010 – Nashville, TN

Tennessee’s Civil War Sesquicentennial events begin on November 12th and 13th with two days of seminars, tours, living history events and much more. On Friday, November 12th, events include living history in Bicentennial Capitol Mall, tours of the Civil War exhibits of the Tennessee State Museum and workshops at Tennessee State University. On the 13th, a seminar with historians will be held at the War Memorial Building which includes a keynote address by noted historian and author Sam Davis Elliott as well as tours of the state museum and living history on the mall. Porter’s Battery from Clarksville will be firing cannons at 10 AM on Friday and Saturday. All events are free and open to the public.

There’s a lot of great things planned for this event and the price is certainly right – FREE! Help kick off Tennessee’s part in commemorating the Civil War in our state. For more information please visit –

Confederate Prison Camp at Johnson’s Island, Ohio Now Paid Off (Courtesy of the Johnson’s Island CWRT, Tiffin, Ohio)

The Friends and Descendents of Johnson’s Island have officially paid off the mortgage for the site of the Confederate prison camp on October 29, 2010 after purchasing it on October 02, 2002 for $357,600. FDJI has raised more than $500,000 in this time period in order to secure this land for the use of future generations.

FDJI has started Phase II and still is in need of donations to fund building trails, erecting interpretative signage and possibly building a visitor’s center. We hope to make the site more available to visitors and to make it much easier to organize such tours than is currently possible. The goal is to have this completed by the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first POW’s which is in April 2012. Remember the hard work has only just begun! Thanks to everyone who donated!

Battle of Franklin Heritage March – November 28, 2010

The Sons of Union Veterans and the Sons of Confederate Veterans will have a joint heritage march on Sunday, November 28, 2010 in Franklin, Tennessee. The march will begin at Fort Granger and conclude at the Carter House. The event begins at 4 PM. For more information please contact Sam Gant at

November In The Civil War

November 2, 1861 – Union General John C. Fremont was removed as commander of the Western Department. The controversial officer got in trouble with President Lincoln by offering his own emancipation of slaves in Missouri. He was the officer responsible for picking Ulysses S. Grant to command the District of Cairo which kicked off his career.

November 21, 1862 – President Jefferson Davis appointed James A. Seddon as his third Secretary of War. He would be one of the best of the five men who held the post during the war.

November 23-29, 1863 – In four key battles in Tennessee, the Federals defeated two separate Confederate commands at Chattanooga and Knoxville. The three engagements at Chattanooga broke the Confederate Army of Tennessee sending them into north Georgia. The Federals were now poised for invasion of the Deep South. At Knoxville, James Longstreet was defeated at Fort Sanders.

November 6, 1865 – The Confederate cruiser CSS Shenandoah, surrendered to British authorities at Liverpool. The last of the commerce raiders, this ship carried the Confederate banner around the world. In August the crew learned that the war was over while operating in the Pacific Ocean.

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