November 14th, 2012 – Our 104th meeting
The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 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.
This is a special meeting night one week earlier than normal due to the Thanksgiving holiday the following week.
OUR SPEAKER AND TOPIC: “SAM WATKINS AND HIS MEMOIR, CO. AYTCH, 1ST TENNESSEE INFANTRY”
He was one of the “stars’ of the Ken Burns Civil War series on PBS. His memoir is considered one of the best ever written and it remains one of the most quoted in books, articles and
other Civil War outlets. He is Private Sam Watkins, Co. H, Maury Grays, 1st Tennessee Infantry (Maney’s), who hailed from Columbia, TN. The book was first published in the Columbia
newspaper in 1881-1882 as a serial. Demand was such that Watkins printed it in book form and two editions of 2000 copies each sold out, the second being published by a
Chattanooga newspaper. The book remains in print through several editions. Thousands of copies have been sold to date. Written with humor, grace and candor, Watkins describes
his war through the eyes of what he called a “high private,” and the scope was his career from Virginia to North Carolina where the war ended for the Army of Tennessee. Watkins
described the drudgery of war, the horrors of battle (his description of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain is brilliant!) but he kept it human with tales of his mess mates and sometimes
with sharp barbs aimed at officers he served under from army commanders down to captains. Yet he also adored one of his regimental commanders, Hume Field. Watkins had a
great talent for the written word and his book is an easy and fun read to this day.
The latest edition of the memoir (2007) was published by this month’s speaker, Ruth Hill McAllister, Watkins’ great-granddaughter. Sam wanted to revise his memoir and did so in
hand writing but that version was never issued until recently. Mrs. McAllister carefully edited into the standard version all of Sam’s revisions. The result is the complete study along with
Sam’s additions and sections he wanted to remove. The book remains the great read it always has with even more of his insightful prose.
Ruth Hill McAllister lives and works in Columbia, Tennessee where she was born and raised. Her father was Sam Watkins’ grandson. She is the producer of the Dawson Watkins
syndicated radio show. After graduating from Vanderbilt with a history degree, she taught school in Georgia and also worked in the Campus Crusade for Christ. She has also worked
with various youth groups in Christian ministry. She and her husband have two sons and one grandson.
Please join us for this terrific program about how Sam Watkins revised his classic memoir of the Civil War at the September Nashville CWRT.
LAST MONTH’S MEETING
The Clarksville CWRT was truly lucky to have Brian Steel Wills as the October speaker. Well known as a biographer of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Dr. Wills spoke to us about his latest biography of Union General George H. Thomas. Using a power point to support his presentation, Dr. Wills spoke on Thomas’ Virginia birth and early life before going to West Point. His military career dominated the program with the most crucial decision that Thomas made in his life was when he decided to stay with the Union as secession began in 1861. This caused him a number of problems with his Virginia family. Thomas was sure and steady in battle winning his first fight at Mill Springs, KY in January 1862. From there his career took off as division and corps command, saving the Army of the Cumberland at Chickamauga with his solid stand on Horseshoe Ridge. Thomas finally reached army command in 1864 (although he led the Army of the Tennessee briefly in 1862 when Grant was in the dog house), taking over the Army of the Cumberland. He would lead this large force through the Atlanta Campaign and be the man that William T. Sherman leaned on for tactical thoughts while slandering him to his superior, U.S. Grant. When Atlanta fell, Thomas was sent back to Tennessee with two corps to defend that state from CS General John Bell Hood’s invasion. Under intense pressure from superiors and terrible weather, Thomas unleashed a two day assault on the Confederates at Nashville that smashed the Army of Tennessee and drove it out of the state. It was a crowning achievement to a stellar career. Thomas died in California while responding to charges by a former fellow Union general. In battle, Thomas indeed proved to be “True as Steel.” Thanks Brian for a fine and entertaining program. For other CWRTs, if you have not had Brian Wills as a speaker you are missing a wonderful evening!
December 2012 – Krista Castillo, Fort Negley Park – “Christmas In The Civil War”
January 2013 – Rick Warwick, historian/author – “Confederate Reunions in Franklin, Tennessee1877-1925”
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”
April 2013 – David Bastian, historian/author – “Grant’s Canal in the Vicksburg Campaign” (based on his book)
May 2013 – Jerry Wooten, Johnsonville State Park – “The Devil On The River: The Battle of Johnsonville, November 1864”
June 2013 – Chris Kolakowski, Patton Museum/author – “The Tullahoma Campaign”
July 2013 – Mark Lause, University of Cincinnati/author – Sterling Price’s Missouri Campaign” (tentative)
August 2013 – Lee Ann Newton, historian/author – “The Memoirs Of Eratus Winters, 50th Ohio Infantry”
September 2013 – Doug Richardson, park ranger, Fort Donelson National Battlefield – “Lincoln and McClellan”
October 2013 – William C. Davis, VA Tech University, noted author/historian – Topic TBA
MEMBERS AND DUES: – You should 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
CIVIL WAR NEWS AND EVENTS
Cherokee Living History – Jefferson Davis State Historic Site – Saturday, November 17, 2012
As a continuance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Jefferson Davis State historic Site will be hosting a Cherokee Living History Weekend. The event runs from 10 AM to 3 PM. The Living History program will feature “RedHawk” and the story of the Cherokee’s role in the Civil War. Allied with the Confederacy, the Cherokee Nation was one of the five “civilized tribes” that did so but the Cherokee nation was split during the war. Some Cherokees formed regiments for the Confederate Army fighting in both the Trans-Mississippi theater as well as North Carolina/Virginia (Thomas’ Cherokee Legion).
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is the Birthplace of Jefferson Davis, the First and only President of the Confederate States of America. The site, in Fairview, KY, is located 25 miles west of Russellville, KY., on 68/80 West and 9 miles east of Hopkinsville, KY., on 68/80 East. To get there from Clarksville take I-24 into Kentucky and get off at Exit 89. Turn right and take this road to Fairview. The 351 feet obelisk can be seen at least 5 miles out in every direction. For more information call 270-889-6100 or email – Ron.Sydnor@ky.gov
Stone River Battlefield Tour – Saturday, December 22, 2012
Stones River National Battlefield is conducting a full tour of the Stones River campaign sites on Saturday, December 22nd. The tour will be lead by a park ranger and will cover places like Nolensville, Triune, Smyrna and LaVergne. This will encompass the Union approaches to the battlefield that took place between December 26-28, 1862, and will be interpreted on the tour with first person accounts from both soldiers and civilians.
Reservations are required and can be made by email – firstname.lastname@example.org or call (615) 893-9501. The tour costs $25 per person and includes a box lunch. Checks, made payable to Eastern National, can be sent to: Stones River National Battlefield, 3501 Old Nashville Highway, Murfreesboro, TN., 37129
Some Wonderful Civil War Events Being Held in Middle Tennessee
November 12, 11 am – Veterans’ Day Ceremony, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville – Honoring Union Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, SUVCW Fort Donelson Camp # 62
November 19-20 – Blue-Gray Days, Carton Plantation and the Carter House, Franklin – Civil War Living History with reenactors and military demonstrations
November 27, 4 pm – March to the Carter House, Franklin — The public is invited to join the Confederate reenactors’ march from Winstead Hill or the Union reenactors march from Fort Granger (leaving from Pinkerton Park)
Blue & Gray Civil War Museum in Decatur, Alabama
If you head down I-65 south of Nashville into northern Alabama towards Huntsville, you will come to I-565/US Hwy 72. Take Highway 72 west into Decatur and after you cross the Tennessee River into downtown you will come to the Blue & Gray Civil War Museum. Located at 723 Bank Street, the museum is loaded with a fine collection of artifacts from weapons, artillery shells, swords, uniforms, drums and much more. It is privately owned and operated and claims to be the largest private collection in the nation. For more information as to hours of operation, directions and much more visit their web site at – http://www.alabamacivilwarmuseum.com. You can also call them at (256) 350-4018. Northern Alabama is rich with Civil War history and this museum would add quite a bit to your tour of those sites.
71st Ohio Infantry Unit History Revised Edition Now Available
In the past year or so, I have spoken to your organizations about my book, “Redemption, The 71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War.” Finally, the 2nd edition of this book has arrived. This 2nd edition is a hardback with additional first hand information, and a dozen new photographs. The book will sold through Andy Turner at Gatehouse Press in Dayton and I will be selling the books as well. Martin Stewart, Troy, Ohio. email@example.com
Martin is also planning on being at the Nashville/Franklin Civil War show the first weekend of December.
Thomas Cartwright To Portray Sam Watkins in Play – Franklin, TN, November 28, 2012
Civil War historian Thomas Y. Cartwright will portray Confederate Civil War soldier Sam Watkins at The Franklin Theatre Wednesday, November 28 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Heritage Foundation. Tickets go on sale October 31. This date was chosen because its two days prior to the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin held November 30, 1864, which is significant to our rich history.
Cartwright, in conjunction with the Lotz House Civil War museum, has teamed with long-time music performer and entertainer Michael Holloway to take what Watkins began to write after the war, and what Cartwright memorized as a child, into the 21 century. Holloway wrote and will perform all original music to enhance the experience of the two hour portrayal.
Thomas Y. Cartwright is known as one of the leading authorities on the Civil War and the Battle of Franklin. He frequently appears on various documentaries for the History Channel, A&E, Travel Channel, CNN, Discovery, and Preservation Channel. For many years, he has lectured throughout most of the United States for Civil War Round Tables, corporations, preservation groups and heritage organizations. In addition, Cartwright authored several published articles and essays. He is currently authoring two books and he conducts battlefield walking tours of the Battle of Franklin from the Lotz House.
The doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:00 p.m. with a brief intermission. Tickets are $35 and $50 and go on sale October 31 and are available at http://www.FranklinTheatre.com or at The Franklin Theatre box office (615) 538-2076. After expenses, half of the proceeds benefit The Heritage Foundation earmarked for the Carter Cotton Park.
The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving our historic resources in Franklin and Williamson County, Tennessee. They benefit Main Street Program and the Downtown Franklin Association, 150 unique places to explore in the 15-block downtown National Register District.