Clarksville CWRT Meeting Notice and Newsletter

December 21st, 2011 – Our 93rd Meeting!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, December 21st 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.

OUR SPEAKER AND TOPIC: “The Petersburg Campaign”

Petersburg, located below the James River south of Richmond, Virginia, was an important Confederate supply center and railroad junction. All of the supplies sent to Richmond from the Deep South passed through the city during the war. Accordingly, it became a military target for the Union Army. Defense lines were built, local defense troops raised and industry expanded. In 1864, the Union military targeted both Richmond and Petersburg with a massive offensive. Union General Ulysses S. Grant used a two-fisted approach to go after these cities; his right hook was aimed at Richmond via the Overland Campaign while the left hook was the Army of the James starting with the Bermuda Hundred attack and subsequent crossing of the James River by Grant’s forces. Petersburg was first attacked in June along the Dimmock Line east of the city, held by Bushrod Johnson’s Tennesseans, among others. As the Union Army gained strength, they probed south and west seeking to cut the railroads into Petersburg and thus Richmond. With these gone, the Confederates would have to abandon both. Battles at Ream’s Station, Weldon Railroad, the Crater, Fort Stedman and Jerusalem Plank Road were critical fights to maintain the Confederate hold on the cities. Finally, with Union troops west of Petersburg, the Battle of Five Forks, followed by the massive attack along Hatcher’s Run on April 2, 1865, shattered the Petersburg defenses. The Confederates were forced to retreat to the west which ended at Appomattox Court House on April 9.

Petersburg was the longest continuous campaign of the Civil War and its conclusion set up the immediate defeat of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the loss of Richmond. Some of the biggest names, north and south, fought in the campaign which caused massive casualties. The huge trench systems built by both sides presaged what would happen in World War I in 1916. Despite the size of the campaign, few books have been written on it.

Fortunately for us, we have John Marler, former Petersburg National Battlefield ranger and now Operations Assistant for the Battle of Franklin Trust, coming to tell us the story of all that happened. John’s program will focus entirely on what happened south of the James River, Grant’s left hook. John, in addition to working for the National Park Service at Petersburg, also ran the Appomattox Touring Company which lead tours of the campaign. Since 2009, John has been working at Carnton and the Battle of Franklin Trust rising from a part time employee to his current position.

Please join us for John Marler and his program on the Petersburg Campaign.


We were blessed with a terrific program by Eric Jacobson, director of the Battle of Franklin Trust. Based on his new book, Baptism Of Fire, about the three green Union regiments whose first engagement was the Battle of Franklin, the 44th Missouri, 175th and 183rd Ohio Infantry were crucial to stopping the Confederate breakthrough in the Union center. Jacobson’s program detailed the formation of these units, where their men came from and how they ended up in Middle Tennessee just in time to partake in Hood’s Tennessee Campaign of November-December 1864. Jacobson argued that these three regiments were more critical in stopping the Confederates than Emerson Opdycke’s Brigade, who typically gets much more credit. Not only was this program filled with outstanding battle details, but it also contained very powerful human interest accounts. Jacobson has become a master of melding the two styles together which takes real talent as a historian. All of this was delivered with full knowledge of the topic and with grace and some humor. This is simply an outstanding program! Civil War Roundtables across the country would do VERY well in getting this program!

Thanks Eric for coming to see us.


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

February 2012 – Myron Smith, historian and author, Tusculum College, “Union Navy City Class Ironclads on the Western Rivers” (tentative)

March 2012 – Ltc. Harold Knudsen – “General James Longstreet – Modern General”

April 2012 – Mark Christ, Arkansas Historical Commission – “Arkansas 1863” (tentative)

May 2012 – Michael Bradley, author/historian – “The Staff and Escort of Nathan Bedford Forrest”

June 2012 – Gordon and Traci Belt, authors – “Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion in the Army of Tennessee”

July 2012 – The one and only Ed Bearss! Topic TBA.

August 2012 – TBA

September 2012 – Martin Stewart, historian/author – “The 71st Ohio Infantry” (based on his revised unit history)

TBA – 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 ribbon and a star if you are current with your dues. If it has neither 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


Civil War Trust to Save 267 Acres at Fallen Timbers in Tennessee – Shiloh’s Aftermath

As the defeated Confederate Army of the Mississippi fell back from Shiloh on April 8, 1862, they were pursued by William T. Sherman’s infantry division. Their objective was the
Confederate hospital area but he was not aware that this was being protected by Confederate cavalry under Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest. As Sherman’s men marched down the
Ridge Road and began to deploy, Forrest, with but 300 men, charged. His troopers broke the Union skirmish line and moved towards the main line. The Federals fired a volley that
dropped a number of Forrest’s men. Forrest himself was badly wounded. The Confederates turned and moved away to the west. Sherman’s troops then captured the hospital site.
Sherman later stated, “I am sure that had he not emptied his pistols as he passed the skirmish line, my career would have ended right there.” Imagine, indeed, what would the war
have been like had Sherman or Forrest been killed at Fallen Timbers?

Now the Civil War Trust is stepping forward to save 267 acres and they are having a fundraising campaign that will be matched $3.50 for every dollar donated. If you wish to contribute
please visit the Civil War Trust web site at and click on the Fallen Timbers section. There you can find the history of the fight and a terrific color map showing the action
as well as the field being sought. This will protect about 75 per cent of the battlefield if successful.

More Civil War Trust Western Battlefield Campaigns

In addition to Fallen Timbers, Civil War Trust is also raising funds to add more land to Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield in West Tennessee and Perryville in Kentucky. The land at Parker’s Crossroads, another battle that involved Nathan Bedford Forrest, is right along the north side of I-40 just east of Exit 108. In this area two of Forrest’s regiments and most of his artillery were deployed. As Forrest was taking the surrender of the Union brigade commanded by Cyrus Dunham, another Union brigade under John Fuller advanced on his rear. This caused Forrest to order his men to, “charge both ways!”

The land at Perryville, fought on October 8, 1862, is along Doctor’s Creek in the southern end of the field that surrounds the Bottom Hose. These 141 acres are where the Confederate brigades of Bushrod Johnson, Patrick Cleburne and Daniel Adams crossed the creek and advanced on the Federal line held by Lovell Rousseau’s Division. The Trust is only $10,000 shy of their goal so please visit the Trust’s web site at and see how you can help secure this great piece of history.

Just recently, the Trust announced the saving of some acreage for “Walthall’s Advance” at the Battle of Franklin. This important land being saved will add to the story of how that important battle played out. This 5 acre parcel of land is just west of the Carnton Plantation. So far the fine efforts of the Civil War Trust and the generosity of the American people have combined to save 30,000 acres of Civil War land preserving these acres for future generations.

Fort Donelson National Battlefield Sets Their 150th Anniversary Programs

Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Dover, Tennessee, will be having a number of events for their upcoming 150th Anniversary. Not all of the programs have been filled as yet but several known authors including Ed Bearss, Kendall Gott, Benjamin F. Cooling and Myron Smith have all been tabbed to make appearances at the park. Smith is an expert on the naval war in the west with several books to his credit while Cooling and Gott have both written books on the Fort Donelson Campaign. Ed Bearss is…well… Ed Bearss! Most of the events will be around the date of the battle, February 12-16, 1862, but there will also be events for the fall of Fort Henry and Fort Heiman around February 4-6, 2012. Many of the programs will be led by park rangers but there will also be living historians and their encampments to add luster to the affair.

For more information on all of the events please visit the park’s web site at:

New Monument to General Patrick Cleburne Recently Dedicated in Wartrace, Tennessee

A new monument to Irish-born Confederate General Patrick Cleburne’s Division was dedicated on December 10, 2011 in Wartrace, Tennessee. This marker is part of the memorial park in Wartrace and it lies just west of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad tracks (now run by CSX Transportation). The park is across the road from the Chockley Tavern, which served as Cleburne’s headquarters in the Tullahoma Campaign. Within this park, in addition to the monument remembering the fight at Liberty Gap north of town by Cleburne’s Division in June 1863, are also markers for the dead Arkansas soldiers killed in the fighting. General St. John Liddell’s Brigade, part of Cleburne’s Division, held off a powerful Union infantry attack on June 24-25, 1863. This all-Arkansas command fought tenaciously until finally forced to the southern end of the gap by superior numbers.

This is the second monument raised in recent years to General Cleburne or his men. A monument of the general was placed at Ringgold gap in Ringgold, Georgia a few years ago to honor the stand his crack division made against Joseph Hooker’s Corps in late November 1863. This stand allowed the defeated Army of Tennessee, shattered at Missionary Ridge, to retreat safely back to Dalton, Georgia. Cleburne won the thanks of the Confederate Congress and became known as the “Stonewall of the West.”

Battle of Nashville Commemoration at Fort Negley – Saturday, December 17, 2011

The critical Battle of Nashville, fought on December 15-16, 1864, was the only Civil War battle in which a major army was nearly destroyed on the battlefield. The two day hammer
blows of Union General George Thomas, smashed the Confederate left flank forcing them from one line of defense to a second. Then Thomas smashed the flank again this time with
his cavalry encircling the Confederate left forcing a rout. The Confederate retreat was aggressively pursued and hundreds of prisoners were captured as rear guard actions sought to
stem the Federal tide.

On Saturday, December 17, 2011, the Fort Negley Park in Nashville, will play host to a Union living history encampment featuring the 13th and 44th United States Colored Troops. The
event begins at 9 Am and continues until 4 PM. At 2 PM, the Fallen Drummer Boy ceremony will take place to honor all fallen American soldiers in all of our wars. Other events include
children’s programs, civilian living history events and more. Lastly, President Abraham Lincoln, and Generals Ulysses S. Grant and George Thomas will also be in attendance.
Everything is free to the public.

The event is hosted by the Fort Negley Visitors Center, the 13th USCT and the Living History Association & Ladies Auxiliary.

New Blue & Gray Magazine Features Cover Article by Our Own Mike Manning!

The new issue of Blue & Gray magazine is now out and the cover article was written by our own Mike Manning. Mike is Chief Ranger at Fort Donelson National Battlefield. The feature
is about the Civil War in the Indian Territory and if you attend Mike’s program at our CWRT some months ago you already know his depth of knowledge on this topic. The current issue
is Part One with a later issue covering the conclusion of the war it what is now Oklahoma. Mike also collaborated with the tour with the B & G editors and that is covered with the usual
excellent maps, photos and directions on how to see everything should you be in the neighborhood. Congratulations Mike – very well done!

A future issue will be a revisit to Fort Donelson written by park historian Jimmy Jobe which promises to be excellent if you know Jimmy. Another issue on the war in and around
Clarksville is also in the works written by Greg Biggs.

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