May Meeting Announcement and Newsletter

May 18th, 2011 – Our 86th Meeting!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, May 18th 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.


The War Between the States started with neither side having a plan for conducting a war or any known strategy of winning. Many Americans throughout North and South believed there would not even be a war, and if war came, it would be short. In the shipyards at Norfolk and New York, the warring factions raced to modernize their navies, European-style, with the latest innovations in armored vessels. Meanwhile in the West, tension was mounting because the Mississippi River was closed off to the Northern states for both commerce and as a conduit for moving war materiel. The Father of Waters inevitably became the main object of the contest in the West.

While entire fleets of “modern” armored gunboats were being assembled, one man stood up to boldly assert that he knew a better way to win the struggle for control of the Mississippi and he proposed to do it himself. His was a style of naval warfare almost as old as naval warfare itself—the battering ram. The only thing modern would be steam power. He even distained guns and armor claiming they would only slow him down. That man was no crank. He was Charles R. Ellet, Jr., a prominent civil (civilian) engineer in his day. With keen insight and a quick mind, he knew that ram warfare, ancient and obsolete as it may sound, was the right kind of warfare for ship-to-ship fighting on the inland waters. The only question to him was who would back him, the Army or the Navy. Without political connections or “friends in high places” other than Edwin Stanton, to whom he reported, Ellet would instantly become a colonel in the United States Army in charge of one of the strangest fleets of all—a rapid strike force known simply as “Ellet’s Rams”. This force was prominent in the naval battle of Memphis, Tennessee in June 1862.

Our speaker, Kent Wright, has been with us before. He is a veteran of the nuclear navy and the civilian nuclear power industry before retiring to Huntsville, Alabama. Kent is a member of the Tennessee Valley CWRT in Huntsville and a prominent speaker on the Civil War Roundtable circuit on the much overlooked naval aspects of the war. He has over 25 years of research into naval affairs of the Civil War.


The one and only Thomas Flagel, professor at Columbia State College in Franklin, Tennessee regaled all of us with his outstanding program on how the press, north and south, looked at and reported the Tennessee Campaign of 1864. Delivered in his usual style laced with humor and full knowledge of his topic, Flagel supported his story with an excellent power point program. Besides showing how the north got out news of the campaign much faster than their southern counterparts, it was often incorrect and even made up if they had nothing factual to report. Southern papers, dwindling due to a lack of resources, either used northern accounts or did not report items until many days afterwards. Flagel’s program shows that the period newspapers often had excellent information for modern historians but that, at times, a large grain of salt needs to be used since they also made errors. This is an excellent program and Thomas Flagel is an inspiring speaker and we suggest it highly to any CWRT out there!


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 – Ross Hudgins, author, “The Civil War of Nashville’s Maggie Vaulx, April 1861 to March 1862”

September 2011 – Ross Massey, historian and author, “General James Chalmer’s Cavalry Division in the Battle of Nashville”

October 2011 – Phil Seyfrit, Richmond, KY Battlefield – “The Battle of Richmond, Kentucky“

November 2011 – Eric Jacobson, Battle of Franklin Trust – “Baptism of Fire: The Role of Federal Recruits at the Battle of Franklin”

December 2011 – John Marler, Battle of Franklin Trust – “The Siege of Petersburg”

January 2012 – Teresa Prober, Austin Peay State University, “The Dover Hotel and Dover, Tennessee in the Civil War”

February 2012 – Kraig McNutt, historian and author – “The Civil War Letters of Addison Lee Ewing, 63rd Indiana Infantry, Late Summer 1864-January 1865”

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! 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


Cave City, Kentucky Civil War Relic Show and Civil War Reenactment – May 27-29, 2011

Cave City, Kentucky, located just east of Exit 53 off I-65 north of Bowling Green, is having a combination Civil War Relic Show and Reenactment on the weekend of May 27-29, 2011. This is Memorial Day weekend. The event will be held in the Cave City Convention Center. The relic show is on Saturday and Sunday only and the hours are 9 Am to 9 PM and on Sunday, 9 Am to 5 PM. For more information call Cave City City Hall at (270)773-2188 or visit their web site at:

You can make this an additionally fun weekend by also going up US 31 to Rowlett’s Station and Munfordville and see more Civil War history on the wonderful walking trails they have developed. These are only a few miles north of Cave City.

Civil War Events at Jefferson Davis State Park, Fairview, Kentucky – June 2011

Jefferson Davis State Park will hold several days of Civil War events from Friday, June 3rd through Sunday, June 5th, 2011 on the park grounds. Friday events include tours of the Davis monument and registration for the reenactors attending and an evening Civil War movie. More events ensue on Saturday including monument tours, reenactments, period music by Red River Breeze, a period tea, author Tom McKinney on Jack Hinson, and much more – a full day of events. That evening will see a firing of cannons. Sunday’s events include a period church service, lectures on Jefferson Davis and more. The weekend is made possible by the Jefferson Davis State Park, John Hunt Morgan UDC Chapter and the Jefferson Davis Reenactors Camp. For more information please call 270-889-6100 or visit the park website at – There is a small fee for the tours.

To get to the park from Clarksville take I-24 into Kentucky to Exit 89 (KY Highway 115). Turn right and take that to Fairview and the park will be on the right. It is about 20 minutes away.

Speakers at the Bowling Green, KY, Nashville and Franklin, TN Civil War Roundtables – May/June 2011

Three of our neighboring CWRTs have some excellent programs coming up in May and June. Bowling Green, KY CWRT, has Nicky Hughes, Director of the City of Frankfort Museum, Frankfort, KY. His May program will be: “Border State Capital – Frankfort, Kentucky, in the Civil War.” The BG CWRT meets the night after Clarksville on the Western KY University campus.

Franklin, TN CWRT will not meet in May but their June program will be, “The Mystery Of Ulysses S. Grant,” presented by Dr. Glenn LaFantasie of Western KY University. Dr. LaFantasie has spoken to Clarksville before so we know how good he is. The Franklin CWRT meets at their library just south of the Carter House off US 31. The meeting is Sunday, June 12 at 3 PM

Nashville CWRT, who meets at Fort Negley Park on the third Monday of each month, has Michael Bradley, retired professor and historian. His program will be the “Staff and Escort of Nathan Bedford Forrest,” based on his recent book. The meeting is Monday, May 16th and begins at 7 PM.

Tennessee Historical Society Spring Speaker Series To Be Held at Fort Negley In Nashville

The Tennessee Historical Society is offering some Civil War programs to be held at the Fort Negley Visitor Center at 1100 Fort Negley Boulevard in Nashville. Each speaker will have new books from which their programs are based for sale at the events. For further information please contact Fort Negley at – (615) 862-8470

Thursday, May 19, 2011 – 5:30 – 7:00 pm. Tennessee Historical Society Annual Membership Meeting & Address: Confederate Outlaw Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia, Brian McKnight, University of Virginia’s College at Wise

Atlanta Campaign Tour Led by Greg Biggs – October 21-23, 2011

The Tennessee Valley CWRT of Huntsville, Alabama is having a three day guided tour of the first phase of the Atlanta Campaign led by our own Greg Biggs. This tour begins at Ringgold, GA and ends at Kennesaw Mountain. The CWRT is opening the tour up to anyone who wishes to attend. The tour begins out of Huntsville and people can park either there or in the Chattanooga area where others will be picked up. The tour fee includes hotels, bus, guide, park fees and much more. For more information please email Kent Wright at – Greg has been leading Atlanta tours since 1993 and has been walking these battlefields for many years.

The Filson Historical Society Tour – “Cumberland Gap: The Confederacy’s Corridor To The North”

The next Civil War tour from Louisville’s Filson Historical Society will be June 2-4, 2011. The theme will be “Cumberland Gap: the Confederacy’s Corridor to the North”. The Filson Civil War Field Institute will focus on the Cumberland Gap’s pivotal role in the War Between the States and how the area’s significance laid in its routes north and south, the topography and geography, and the divided nature of its citizenry.

Some sites to be visited include: the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, Harrogate, TN; Cumberland Gap National Historical Park; Camp Wildcat, London, KY; Richmond, KY Battlefield; White Hall, home to Cassius Marcellus Clay and Camp Nelson, Nicholasville, KY. The tour guide and keynote speaker is Dr. Brian McKnight, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He is the author of “Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia” (Kentucky, 2006) which one the James I. Robertson Literary Prize in 2006. His newest book is “Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia.” Filson Historical tours are open to anyone wishing to go and are very professionally run. Filson members get lower tour prices so join their ranks and save some money! Register online at:

Downtown Clarksville’s Roxy Theater Presents Civil War Play Through May, 2011

Drawing on letters, diaries, firsthand accounts, and the words of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Walt Whitman, this thrilling, gut-wrenching and awe-inspiring musical covers the enormous emotional landscape of the most difficult test our nation has ever endured. Reminiscent of Ken Burns’ acclaimed documentary, THE CIVIL WAR puts a human face on the greatest tragedy of American history and passionately asks us to consider our beliefs about freedom, honor and faith.

The performance dates are – May 11-14* (Saturday matinee), 18-21, 2011. For more information call (931)645-7699. The Roxy Theater is located at 100 Franklin Street just off Public Square.

Clarksville’s Customs House Museum Has Civil War Exhibit through May, 2011

The Customs House Museum in Clarksville has a Civil War exhibit that will be running through May 2011. This is the first phase of what will be a series of exhibits during the Civil War Sesquicentennial and offers an examination of the secession era both nationally and in Clarksville, the Home Front and more. For more information please call – (931)648-5780.

Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Events On The Web

Our neighbors in the Bluegrass State have some wonderful events upcoming for the Sesquicentennial. For information about the Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and some of the statewide events that will take place in Kentucky during the 150th anniversary of the war, please see Click on “News and Events” for the event listing. If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to e-mail Look for an event in Bowling Green in September.

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