November Meeting Notice and Newsletter!

November 19th, 2014 – Our 128th meeting. We continue our eleventh year!
The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 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: – “Fort Donelson: One Soldier’s Story”

Our program this month is an actual account of the wartime experiences of Dr. John Kennerly Farris, Company, I, 41st Tennessee Infantry, CSA, taken directly from his diary, written in the form of letters to his wife, as he saw it, as he wrote it, as he lived it!

John Kennerly Farris, along with his two brothers, Bud and Sam, enlisted for Confederate service in Company I of the 41st Tennessee Volunteer Army in November of 1861 at Winchester, Tennessee. John was studying medicine at the time and had established a small practice in Decherd. After training at Camp Trousdale, in less than two months, the brothers would have their first real experience of “war” at Fort Donelson where they were captured. While a prisoner at Camp Morton, Indiana, he began keeping a diary in the form of letters to his wife, Mary, with detailed lists of men who served, who were wounded, who took the Union Oath of Allegiance, and when they were exchanged and reorganized in Mississippi. As a practicing physician, he was always eager to learn new treatments for soldiers’ ailments, and kept recipes for various afflictions, including camp cough, mumps, gunshot wounds, itch, and gonorrhea. His journey would take him through various battles in Mississippi, Port Hudson, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Franklin, and Nashville, and shares his thoughts through the four long, hard years he endured — of joy and sorrow, of hope and despair, honor bound at times to a Cause he no longer believed in.

Transcribed, edited, and annotated by his great-granddaughter, Shirley Farris Jones, “Letters to Mary: the Civil War Diary of Dr. John Kennerly Farris,” was first published in 1994. It was revised for a second printing by the Coffee County Historical Society, and came off the press in May 2014. Copies of the book will be for sale at this month’s meeting.

Shirley Farris Jones, Civil War historian and community activist, retired from Middle Tennessee State University, where she had been a staff member for more than thirty years. She has served as President of the Rutherford County Historical Society, the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, Friends of Stones River National Battlefield, and the Martha Ready Morgan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 2003, she was one of the founding members of the Middle Tennessee Civil War Round Table. She is also a member of the Morgan’s Men Association, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of 1812, Colonial Dames XVII Century, and Daughters of the American Colonists.

A direct descendant of two Confederate great-grandfathers, Ms. Jones states that “Civil War history is more than just a hobby; it has been a passion since childhood.” She has had numerous Civil War related articles published over the past three decades and is the author of four books, including “Letters to Mary: the Civil War Diary of Dr. John Kennerly Farris”, “Harvey Calvin Neese: From Coffee County to Cripple Creek”, “The Un-Civil War in Middle Tennessee”, “Murfreesboro in the Civil War”, co-authored with Dr. Michael Bradley, and recently completed the revision for a second printing of “Letters to Mary ”, which came off the press in May.

Ms. Jones has done extensive research on Martha Ready Morgan, including work for artist John Paul Strain in 1993 for his limited edition print, “Morgan’s Wedding.” In 2004, she was awarded the Jefferson Davis Historical Award for Writing and Research for “Martha Ready Morgan: from wife to widow in 630 days”, presented by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Ms. Jones is a lifelong resident of Murfreesboro, attended Middle Tennessee State University, and is a graduate of Knox Business College and Leadership Rutherford. She is married to Jerry Jones and they are the parents of one son, Jeff. She has been actively involved in historic preservation efforts throughout the community for many years.

We hope you will join us for this informative program with local interest.


We are most grateful for the fine program by David Mowery from Cincinnati who, with his wife Dawn, came to tell us of the famous raid across Indiana and Ohio by John Hunt Morgan in June-July 1863. While its outcome brought the destruction of his cavalry division, Morgan’s raid certainly tied down thousands of Federal troops and caused great consternation among the civilians of these states. Morgan’s Raid remains one of the most colorful events of the war and we were very lucky to have the author of the most recent book on the campaign as our speaker. David’s years of work on the Morgan Trail in Ohio has certainly elevated him to the pantheon of Morgan historians and his knowledge was well on display last month. Thanks David for coming to see us – and to the other CWRTs getting our newsletter – this was a terrific program so be sure to get David for your CWRT.


December 2014 – Greg Wade, Franklin CWRT – “Divided Allegiances: Survival on the Home Front: Sequatchie Valley, Tennessee”
March 2015 – Mark Hoffman, historian/author – “The 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics in Middle Tennessee” (from his book)
August 2015 – Greg Bayne, president, American Civil War Roundtable of the United Kingdom – “Why Europe Didn’t Intervene in the Civil War”

MEMBERS AND DUES: – DUES ARE DUE AT THE JULY 2014 MEETING. WHEN YOU ARE CURRENT YOU WILL GET A NEW CWRT MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. 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

Your annual dues for the 2014-2015 campaign are due at this meeting. Please plan on handling that this month. You will get a new membership card after the dues are paid. Thanks for your support!


Fort Donelson Book Club Meeting – November 25th, 2014

The Fort Donelson Book Club, Dover group, meets to discuss the second half of MacKinley Kantor’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Andersonville. We will also watch one of the films from Andersonville National Historic Site. A limited number of copies of this book are available for participants. (Please note special date because of the Thanksgiving holiday.) The program begins at 6 PM.

Middle Tennessee Civil War 150th Events Across Our Area – November-December, 2014

From Spring Hill to Nashville, Middle Tennessee will have a plethora of events to observe the events of 150 years ago. There’s far too many to list here but visit the websites of these organizations for more details and events:

The Lotz House, Carter House, Carnton Mansion in Franklin for tours, events, Ed Bearss dinner and tour and much more. In Nashville, the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society will be part of the many events planned including a symposium, tours and more. Visit their web site and those of Belle Meade, Traveler’s Rest, Fort Negley and others for the information and dates that you need to support them.

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