April Newsletter and Meeting Notice

April 17th, 2013 – Our 109th meeting.
The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 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: “Grant’s Canal in the Vicksburg Campaign”

Vicksburg was a tougher nut to crack that what Union General Ulysses S. Grant had previously thought. His December 1862 offensive to take the citadel on the Mississippi River was stopped due to Confederate cavalry raids. His next offensive in May 1863, moved his army down the left side of the river before crossing over at Bruinsburg. Once across, Grant moved quickly defeating Confederate forces at Raymond and then Jackson before turning to deal with the Vicksburg garrison at Champion Hill and Big Black River. The latter battle bottled up the Confederate army of John Pemberton in the city but its massive fortifications stopped Grant cold.

Seeking to keep his troops busy, Grant realized that the real goal of the campaign was not really to take the city but open up the Mississippi River. If the Federals could bypass the city by water somehow Vicksburg would become a moot point. Working with his engineers, Grant found a place to dig a canal across the neck of land across the river from the city and set his men into doing so. Complications and lower water eventually negated what grant sought to do and ultimately the siege itself ended up being enough to capture the city and 30,000 man garrison.

Our speaker this month is David Bastian, author of the only book on Grant’s canal. His program will feature a slide presentation, based on his book, referencing the two Union campaigns against Vicksburg and focusing on the efforts to divert the Mississippi River away from Vicksburg by digging the canal. Had they succeeded, they would have had immediate and complete control of the river (definitely in the summer of 1862 and possibly in the winter of 1863). Beyond Vicksburg’s geographical significance, Mr. Bastian will also discuss the city’s topography and why this made the city very defensible for the Confederacy. Needless to say, if the Union had succeeded in its plan, Vicksburg would have lost much of its importance as a Union objective.

David Bastian is a retired hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where among his accomplishments he had a 6-year stint in Panama as a delegate to the tri-national Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal.
Bastian holds a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and a master’s degree in river engineering from Delft in the Netherlands. He is now a practicing engineering consultant.


Nancy Baird of Western Kentucky University of Bowling Green, KY and editor of Josie Underwood’s Civil War diary gave us a fine program based on Josie’s diary. Using Josie’s own words, her program featured humor, sadness, grief, anger and more and gave us a deep insight into the mindset of a young woman, from a slave holding Unionist family near Bowling Green. Her father was a prominent Kentuckian who would be appointed a commissioner to Scotland during the war which would take Josie and her family away from the war. When they returned it was to a ruined estate which had been dismantled slowly by both armies during the early stages of the war. Not only was this an excellent program but the diary is well worth reading. Thanks so much Nancy.


May 2013 – Jerry Wooten, Johnsonville State Park, TN. – “Johnsonville, TN: The End Of The Line, November 4, 1864”
June 2013 –
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
November 2013 – Kraig McNutt, author/historian
December 2013 – Chris Kolakowski, Patton Museum/author – “The Tullahoma Campaign”

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


New Newsletter Editor Needed for the Clarksville CWRT Newsletter

A new newsletter editor is desperately needed for our CWRT newsletter. If you are interested in doing this please let the membership know at this month’s meeting. The Biggs can no longer devote the time to it. This month’s edition will be the last full newsletter until a new editor can take over.

Civil War Exhibit At Fort Negley in Nashville Starting March 13, 2013

Starting on March 13th, Fort Negley will host an exhibit called “Voices of the battlefield.” This multi-panel exhibit is the product of Brian Allison of Traveller’s Rest in Nashville. The panels will tell the stories of the Battle of Nashville and preservation of area Civil War sites. The exhibit will remain at Fort Negley into September so be sure to drop by to see it.

April 20th, 2013: “War in the Mountains III” symposium set for Lincoln Memorial University

Lincoln Memorial University presents another Civil War symposium focused on the Civil War in the Appalachian Mountains. In this symposium, three speakers will present on the following topics:

1. Dr. Wilma Dunaway will discuss “The Civil War and Emancipation through the Eyes of Appalachian Slaves.”
2. Dr. Michael Toomey will lecture on “The Campaign that Never Was: The Union Invasion of East Tennessee, 1861.”
3. Dr. Brian McKnight will discuss “The Roles of Weather and Terrain in the Rise and Fall of Felix Zollicoffer.”

The registration fee is $30 and the symposium will be held at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at LMU in Harrogate, Tennessee. The university is located at the southern end of Cumberland Gap, itself an important Civil War site and national park.

The Saturday program will last from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m., and include two breaks. Lunch is not included in the registration fee. For more information contact Carol Campbell, director of programs, at 423-869-6439 or 800-325-0900, ext. 6439. She can be reached by email at: Carol.Campbell@lmunet.edu

June 6-8, 2013: “East Tennessee in Turmoil” – A Filson Civil War Field Institute Program

The Filson Historical Society of Louisville, KY continues its series of presentations and field trips. Participants for this tour will meet in Greeneville, TN, and travel throughout East Tennessee by bus over the two days. These sites include:

• the East Tennessee Historical Society Museum in downtown Knoxville
• Bijou Theater, the location of the Lamar House, a center of secessionist activity.
• Fort Dickerson in Knoxville
• the site of the Battle of Blue Springs, two Burnside victories during East Tennessee Campaign
• Dickson-Williams mansion, where John Hunt Morgan spent his last night on Earth as a guest of the family.
• the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, where his home, his tailor’s shop, his grave, and the museum are located.
• Abingdon’s Sinking Spring Cemetery, where John Hunt Morgan was first buried and the infamous John Floyd still lies.

Dr. Brian McKnight, associate professor of history at the Univ. of Virginia – Wise, will be the tour’s guide. His first book, Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia (Kentucky, 2006), won the James I. Robertson Literary Prize in Confederate History. His most recent book, Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia, tells the story of the Confederacy’s most notorious borderland guerrilla and was awarded the Tennessee Historical Commission’s award for the Best Book on Tennessee History for 2011. Additionally, he co-edited The Age of Andrew Jackson and appeared on the Ashley Judd episode of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?.

Field trip Fee

$280 for Filson members;
$330 Non-members
Includes all admission fees to museums and parks, chartered bus, two lunches, a reception and one dinner (Thursday evening).

To reserve your place:

A non-refundable deposit of $50 (Due by 4/22/2013) per person is required at time of registration and balance is due to the Filson by May 28, 2013. To assure your field trip reservation, you can register on-line through Eventbrite. (additional fees apply)

Payment can also be sent to:

The Filson Historical Society
c/o Scott Scarboro CWFI
1310 S Third Street
Louisville, KY 40208

For more information please contact Scott at: sscarboro@filsonhistorical.org

All participants are responsible for their travel arrangements to and from Greeneville, TN and making their own hotel accommodations and dinner on Friday evening. During the fieldtrip we will travel by chartered bus as a group.

General Morgan Inn
111 North Main Street
Greeneville, TN 37743
(423) 787-1000 / (800) 223-2679
$85 per night Filson group rate

Civil War Exhibit At Fort Negley in Nashville

Starting on March 13th, Fort Negley will host an exhibit called “Voices of the Battlefield.” This multi-panel exhibit is the product of Brian Allison of Traveller’s Rest in Nashville. The panels will tell the stories of the Battle of Nashville and preservation of area Civil War sites. The exhibit will remain at Fort Negley into September so be sure to drop by to see it.

Two Upcoming Civil War Tours – Tullahoma Campaign and Fort Donelson Campaign in June, 2013

Noted author and historian Michael Bradley, author of the first book on the Tullahoma Campaign, and Greg Biggs (Clarksville and Nashville CWRTs) will co-lead a tour of the Tullahoma Campaign to celebrate its 150th Anniversary. The date for the tour is Saturday, June 22nd, 2013. The tour will meet in Murfreesboro and travel by bus for the day seeing sights from Hoover’s Gap, Liberty gap and Shelbyville to Cowan and Sewanee Mountain where the campaign ended. Details will follow very soon.

Another tour, led by Greg Biggs, of the Fort Donelson Campaign, will be held on Saturday, June 29th, 2013. The tour will feature members from several CWRTs and will take the entire day seeing sights outside of the national park as well as the park itself. The tour will leave from Clarksville that morning and there will be a meeting on Friday, June 28th at Clarksville’s Fort Defiance Park for a tour of that site. The tour costs $20 per person if paid before June 10th: $25 per person afterwards.

For more information on both tours please email Greg at: Biggsg@charter.net

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s