Special Meeting with Ed Bearss!

July 18th, 2012 – Our 100th meeting – and what a meeting it will be! ED BEARSS!!!!!
The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, July 18th at the Customs House Museum, 200 South 2nd Street in downtown Clarksville. The Customs House Museum is our partner for this event and we thank them for their help. This is a special fund raising event for the Clarksville CWRT with the proceeds going to help build the Tennessee monument at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky.
Directions from the Hopkinsville area: Head south on US 41 A into Clarksville. This becomes Fort Campbell Blvd. at the Tennessee state line. Continue for several miles and you will head down a hill and cross the Red River. The next light is Riverside drive (Two Rivers Mall will be on the right). Stay straight and go up the hill on what is now Second Street into downtown. The Customs House Museum is on the right corner when you get to Commerce Street. There is ample parking around the museum area in lots and in legal street spaces. Enter the museum through the middle courtyard.
Directions from the Russellville area: Head south on Hwy 79 as you would for the regular meeting location. Stay on Wilma Rudolph Blvd. into downtown (do not turn right where Hwy 79 turns right at Kraft Street). This will cross the Red River and curve to the right and pass Austin Peay State University on the right. When you get to 2nd Street, turn left. The Customs House Museum is on the right corner when you get to Commerce Street. There is ample parking around the museum area in lots and in legal street spaces. Enter the museum through the middle courtyard.
OUR SPEAKER AND TOPIC: “General George H. Thomas Versus General U.S. Grant – Union Command In The Tennessee Campaign of 1864”

The Tennessee Campaign of November-December 1864 was the Confederacy’s last gasp in the West. John Bell Hood, after losing Atlanta in September, took the beleaguered Army of Tennessee northward back into north Georgia with Sherman pursuing. After reaching Dalton, Hood then moved into Alabama to establish a new line of supply and rest. Sherman responded by sending Gen. George H. Thomas, the “Rock of Chickamauga,” back to Nashville with a couple corps of troops. Sherman then returned to Atlanta to implement his March to the Sea.

Thomas was given the power to bolster his forces with new troops from Cincinnati, St. Louis and other places and he sent a corps of John Schofield to slow Hood down in southern Middle Tennessee. Hood moved to cut off Schofield and then fought the bloody Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. Meanwhile, Thomas built up the Nashville defenses bringing in more troops, gunboats and adding to the lines of defensive works. Hood closed on the city and threw out siege lines. In the meantime, the weather turned for the worse with ice, sleet and snow.

In Virginia, Gen. U.S. Grant demanded that Thomas attack. Grant, like Sherman, considered Thomas to be too slow and did not believe Thomas’ telegrams detailing the bad weather. Finally, Grant dispatched Gen. John A. Logan to Thomas in Nashville with peremptory orders to replace him if he had not attacked Hood by the time he arrived. Finally, the weather somewhat improving, Thomas unleashed a massive attack over two days that shattered the Army of Tennessee driving them back into Alabama. It was the end of Hood as an army commander.

The one and only Ed Bearss, this month’s speaker, will go into the complicated command relationship between Grant and Thomas in this campaign. Was Thomas slow or was he right in waiting until the weather improved? Come and find out with the legendary Ed Bearss.

Ed Bearss is the Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service and is the most requested Civil War speaker and tour guide in the nation. Over the years, Bearss has spoken to thousands of history groups and has led thousands of tours of battlefields across the country. He has also led tours for World War 2 in Europe and the Pacific Theater. Mr. Bearss is a combat wounded Marine from the war in the Pacific. Due to his active schedule, Mr. Bearss is difficult to book for an appearance. As he nears his 88th birthday, Mr. Bearss shows no signs of slowing down. The Clarksville CWRT, and our co-sponsor, Customs House Museum, are very lucky to have him coming to town.

Mr. Bearss has appeared as a historian in the famous Civil War series by Ken Burns as well as the TV show Civil War Journal. He has also appeared on C-Span and other television events for the Civil War. Mr. Bearss is featured in the introductory film at the U.S. Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Virginia. Mr. Bearss has also authored hundreds of articles on the Civil War for state historical journals and other Civil War publications such as Blue & Gray magazine. He is also the author of a number of books including the definitive study (in three volumes) on the Vicksburg Campaign. His latest book, on the Petersburg Campaign, is due to be released this summer.
For more on the Ed Bearss event please see below.


Traci and Gordon Belt regaled us with a terrific program based on their book on religion in the Army of Tennessee. Citing first person accounts and highlighting clergy of the period as well as common soldiers, Traci began by going over religion of the era and how the south used the Old Testament as a basis for what it was doing with regards to secession, slavery and fighting a war. Supported by a wonderful Power Point, Traci also told of he own exposure to the Civil War and, as an ordained minister and the daughter of clergy, how religion in her background helped her study of religion in the Civil War. Gordon, a professional archivist, then told of the sources that were used in their book and program offering a view of the terrific resources that can be found in libraries and the Tennessee State Library and Archives.


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)
February 2012 – Kevin McCann, author/historian – “Hurst’s Wurst: The 6th Tennessee Cavalry U.S.”
March 2013 – Nancy Baird, Western KY University – “Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary”
October 2013 – William C. Davis, VA Tech University, noted author/historian – Topic TBA
MEMBERS AND DUES: – You will have a Clarksville CWRT membership card if you are current with your dues. If you do not have one then 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:
 Student – $10
 Single membership – $20
 Family – $30
 Military – Active duty and veterans – $15
 Military family – Active duty, veterans, and family – $25


Ed Bearss Meet and Greet Prior to the Ed Bearss Lecture – July 18th, 2012

The Ed Bearss lecture begins at 7 PM but before that we are having a special meet and greet event with food, drink and fun. This is open only to the members of the Customs House Museum and current dues paid members of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable. Our food is being catered by the Chopping Block on Madison Avenue.


The Meet and Greet begins at 5:30 PM. Thanks to those of you who have volunteered to help with this event. If you are a reenactor please do dress up for this event. If you have any questions, contact Greg at 931-920-3063.

More On The Ed Bearss Event

At 6:30 PM we will start letting people in for the lecture at 7 PM. The fee for the lecture is $10 per person. The proceeds are going to our contribution to the Tennessee Monument at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky Battlefield. The members of the Fort Donelson CWRT are allowed in for free in gratitude for letting us attend their Shiloh bus tour in May (thanks guys!). They will have their membership cards with them. Clarksville CWRT members who are not current with their dues will need to pay the $10 fee.

If you are not current (lack a membership card) then you must mail your check to arrive by this coming Friday (July 13th) to Greg Biggs, 2600 W. Henderson Way, Clarksville, TN, 37042. Please make your check out to the Clarksville CWRT.

Clarksville CWRT Membership Cards

We have the following cards for these dues paid members: Ray Hynson, Robert Nichols, Frank Lott, Tom Koon, Shanna Guentert, Steve James and John & Cathy Stanton. We will have them at the Meet and Greet for you.
Battle of Nashville Preservation Society Events – July, 2012 At Travellers Rest In Nashville
Our friends at BONPS are hosting a wonderful event to be held at Traveller’s Rest on July 28th, 2012. This is the Civil War Model and Toy Soldier Show which promises to be a great time for the whole family. There are several categories of competition which can be entered with judging taking place later in the day. The event begins at 9 AM and runs through 1 PM with prizes awarded after that. For more information visit the BONPS web site (www.bonps.org) or call (615) 301-4800, the latter number the one to call if you wish to exhibit at the show. There is an admission fee and this event is a BONPS fund raising event.
If you build dioramas or models this will be a fun event for you to attend!
Fort Donelson CWRT meeting – Thursday, July 19th, 2012
John Walsh, president of the Fort Donelson CWRT, is doing his new program on the two battles of Dover (August 1862 and February 1863). The program begins at 7 PM at the Stewart County Visitors Center, right across the road from Fort Donelson National Battlefield.

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