May Meeting Notice and Newsletter!

May 16th, 2012 – Our 98th Meeting!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, May 16th 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 apologies for the late newsletter – it has been a very hectic past ten days!!!!

OUR SPEAKER AND TOPIC: “The Staff and Escort of Nathan Bedford Forrest”

Nathan Bedford Forrest was probably the finest cavalry commander of the Civil War. With only six months of any education and no formal military education, Forrest soon learned to
rely on his staff for the day to day operations of his commands. These officers were brought in to handle weapons and ammunition, shoes and uniforms, horses and much more
leaving Forrest free to handle the tactical and strategic operations of his campaigns. These men were devoted to Forrest and he relied on them to get his men where they needed to
be. It was a powerful relationship that lasted even after the war.

Additionally, as with many general officers, Forrest had a personal escort of company strength. These were probably the toughest fighters of his command and riding alongside Forrest
was not only a place of honor but also one of danger. Forrest used his escort for a variety of missions including as his own Old Guard, which, like Napoleon’s famous command, often
helped tip the scales to victory or helped cover any retreat. At Parker’s Crossroads, they charged a full brigade of Union infantry stopping them in their tracks and forcing them to deploy
into line of battle. These men, too, remained devoted to their commander after the war.

Telling us about these men will be Dr. Michael Bradley, a retired professor of history from Motlow College in Tennessee. Forrest’s staff and escort was the topic of one of his recent
books, which Dr. Bradley will have for sale at this month’s meeting. He is an accomplished historian, past commander of the Tennessee Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and
a noted author. Some of his books include; Forrest’s Fighting Preacher: David Campbell Kelley of Tennessee; Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Staff and Escort; Tullahoma: The 1863 Campaign
FFor the Control of Middle Tennessee; With Blood and Fire: Life Behind Union Lines in Middle Tennessee, 1863-1865; and his most current book, Murfreesboro in the Civil War. Dr.
Bradley also had the cover article for Blue & Gray magazine on the Tullahoma Campaign. He is very much in demand as a speaker.

Please join us as Dr. Michael Bradley tells us much more about the staff and escort of Nathan Bedford Forrest.


Mark Christ, from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, gave us an excellent program on the Civil War in Arkansas in 1863. The topic of his recent book, the program began with details on the campaign for Arkansas Post (Fort Hindman) and concluded with the fall of Little Rock and the war along the border of Arkansas and the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Within this busy year, much took place and all was related with a full knowledge and understanding of the events often delivered with humor and pertinent anecdotes. Covering a full year of campaigns and battles is hard enough to do but Christ delivered the goods with this excellent program. The war in the Trans-Mississippi is getting a lot of attention with more and more books coming out so this was a fine way to learn about one of Tennessee’s neighbors during its most critical year.

We highly suggest that other CWRTs, if you are tired of the usual programs, contact Mark Christ to get this program (one of many he can do) and get him to your CWRT!


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 – Jack Hurst, author/historian – “Grant and Forrest: Extraordinary Ordinary Americans.”

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

October 2012 – Brian Wills, author/historian – “General George Thomas”

November 2012 – Ruth Hill McAllister, author/historian – “The Memoirs Of Sam Watkins, Company Aytch”

December 2012 – Krista Castillo, Fort Negley Park – “Christmas In The Civil War”

January 2013 – Rick Warwick, historian/author – Topic TBA (tentative)

April 2013 – William C. Davis, VA Tech University, author/historian – Topic TBA

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


Ed Bearss to Speak to the Clarksville CWRT – July 18th, 2012 – VERY IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ!!!!

The one and only Ed Bearss, retired Chief Historian of the National Park Service and battlefield guide extraordinaire, will be speaking to our CWRT on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012.
Accordingly, due to the expected demand for seats, the meeting in July will be held at Clarksville’s Customs House Museum in downtown Clarksville in their auditorium. This seats
about 190 people. We are going to do a major PR push for this event so we expect the place to sell out. This will probably be the only time we can get Ed to come and speak to us as
he is very much in demand across the country for lectures and tours.

Clarksville CWRT members who are current in their dues will get in free of charge. For everyone else, tickets will be $10 each with the proceeds going to help fund the Tennessee
Civil War Monument at the Battle of Richmond, KY battlefield. These tickets will be first come, first served. As our fiscal year is usually July, in order to save time at that month’s meeting,
we will suspend the usual business portion of the meeting and get right to the evening’s program. In order to know how many seats we will have to sell, we will have a members sign
up sheet at the June meeting where members can sign up for July. That way we know how many seats will be available and can advertise that to the public at large.

Accordingly, we will have the dues collection for the 2012-2013 dues year take place at the June 2012 meeting. Please be prepared to pay your dues that month in order to be dues
current for the July meeting. There will simply be no time to handle dues at the July meeting so plan on June for paying them. If you cannot attend the June meeting please send your
dues in to Greg Biggs, 2600 W. Henderson Way, Clarksville, TN 37042. Make checks out to the Clarksville CWRT. If you are a new member and have joined since January 2012, your
dues will be pro-rated and you will only have to pay a half rate. If you do not take care of your dues before or during the June 2012 meeting you will be charged the $10 fee for Ed
Bearss. You may pay your dues at the May meeting if you wish.

Thanks for your help with this wonderful event! We are hoping to have a pre-lecture meet and greet with Ed while he is with us.

Fort Negley Memorial Day Program Set – Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fort Negley Park announces a Memorial Day weekend observance to honor all serving members of the U.S. Armed Forces and to commemorate those who gave the final devotion to their country. The observance will also honor those who perished building and defending the fortifications of Nashville during the Civil War including Fort Negley.

The program begins at 11 AM and continues until 1 PM on Saturday, May 26, 2012. The event is free and open to the public. Please support this wonderful event with your attendance. For more information please call Fort Negley at (615) 862-8470.

Fort Donelson Camp, Sons of Union Veterans Feature Dr. Michael Trapasso on Bowling Green, KY. – May 22, 2012

On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at 7:00 p.m., the Fort Donelson Camp #62, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), of Middle Tennessee, at the Fort Negley Visitors’ Center in Nashville at 110 Fort Negley Boulevard will present Dr. Michael Trapasso giving a program entitled ““Rise and Fall of a Confederate Capitol: The Civil War in Bowling Green, Kentucky.” Dr. Trapasso will speak about early Civil War history in Kentucky, concentrating on Bowling Green and its importance as a military base and stronghold, as well as the Confederate State Capitol. Trapasso is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green where he was on the faculty from 1980 to 2008. He is a reenactor and battlefield preservationist, and speaks and writes frequently on the Civil War.

The meeting is free and open to members and perspective members. A kiosk in the lobby of the Visitor’s Center provides a computer link to the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System where attendees can search for Civil War ancestors. The group will hold a business meeting at 6:00 p.m. prior to the program. The SUVCW is a volunteer, non-profit, patriotic and educational organization founded in 1881 by sons of Civil War veterans. For more information, please email Roger Tenney at and visit

Clarksville Civil War Film Wins Award at the Meeting of the Tennessee Association of Museums!

If you visit Fort Defiance Interpretive Center in Clarksville you have undoubtedly seen the movie they show to their visitors. Entitled Crossroads Of Change: Clarksville, Tennessee
1861-1865, this film tells the story of Clarksville from just before the war through its end as well as some of the aftermath. Based on the actual events of the war and using local actors
and reenactors (some of whom are Clarksville CWRT members!), the film, used a female narrator to guide the tale, offering military and civilian accounts to tell the story of war and
occupation. The script was written by Frank Lott, Tammy Dohner and our own Greg Biggs and was filmed by local film maker Rick Goodwin who has won other film awards. The TAM
meeting was held in Memphis in April where it was entered into competition with other such productions. Congratulations to all who took part in the making of this film. You all should
be VERY proud!

Ray Mulesky, Noted Civil War Historian, Offers Free Tour of Newburgh, Indiana – May 19, 2012

Civil War historian and author, and former Clarksville CWRT speaker, Ray Mulesky, is leading a tour of the first Confederate raid north of the Ohio River in the Civil War. On July 18, 1862, Adam Rankin Johnson, with maybe 25 men, crossed the Ohio River and took the town of Newburgh, Indiana, a suburb of Evansville. He captured a large number of men and weapons and used fake cannons to encourage the surrender of the town’s garrison. Made of stovepipes and mounted on wheels, these guns soon brought Johnson the nickname, “Stovepipe Johnson.”

Ray will be leading a tour of the site where Johnson crossed the river and relate other events pertinent to the raid. The program begins at 11 AM on Saturday, May 19, 2012. There is no charge for the tour which lasts for about an hour. If you recall Ray’s program at Clarksville, he is a very engaging speaker. For details please email – – for all details and directions. Newburgh is two hours north of Clarksville. Ray is doing the tour for the 150th Anniversary of the Newburgh Raid.

Historian Jim Hoobler of the Tennessee State Museum to Give Program at the Carter House in Franklin, June 7th, 2012

The Battle of Franklin Trust is pleased to announce an upcoming lecture to be held in Franklin, Tennessee. Organized to compliment the current exhibits being housed at Carnton Plantation and the Carter House, the lecture is free and open to the public, and will begin at 6:00 p.m. This is part of a series of planned lectures to be held in Franklin by the Battle of Franklin Trust.

On June 7, Jim Hoobler, Senior Curator of Art and Architecture at the Tennessee State Museum, will give his lecture, “Occupied Nashville,” at The Carter House. The lecture will cover life in Nashville under Union Army control. Hoobler is a published author, having written books such as, Cities Under the Gun: Images of Occupied Nashville and Chattanooga and is a former speaker at our CWRT. Do not miss this fine program by a fine historian and speaker.

Tennessee Historian Has a Blog On the Spencer Rifle and Carbine

If you have an interest in the Spencer repeating rifle and carbine, then this historian’s blog is just for you! Greg Wernke created the blog some months ago to highlight these famous weapons, their history and to allow for the discussion of them by those interested. The Spencer made one of its earliest battle appearances in Tennessee’s Tullahoma Campaign of June-July 1863. These rifles equipped the mounted infantry brigade commanded by Col. John T. Wilder of Indiana. Wilder, seeking to maximize the firepower of his men, purchased the rifles for his troops and the men paid him back on a monthly basis. Spencers soon equipped many other units of the Union Army with the carbine version coming out in 1864. In 1865, the 14,000 man cavalry corps commanded by Gen. James H. Wilson that would smash their way through Alabama and Georgia and hand Forrest his worst defeat of the war, was fully armed with Spencers making them the most powerful mounted force in the world!

Just drop by and be ready for some fine history and fun.

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