July Newsletter and Meeting Notice

July 22nd, 2015 – Our 136th meeting on a special different night!!   We continue our eleventh year!
The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 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
  – “The Battle of Seven Pines, May/June 1862”


One of the overlooked battles of the war, Seven Pines was the largest battle in the east up to that time.  It was also the first attack launched by the Army of Northern Virginia.  Taking place between May 31 and June 1, 1862, this fight, also known as Fair Oaks, was the first Confederate attempt to strike back at George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac as they advanced slowly up the Virginia peninsula from Fortress Monroe.

After fighting at Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg, the Confederates abandoned their defenses of the lower Peninsula and fell back on the Confederate capitol of Richmond.  In doing so, they lost the pivotal navy yard at Gosport/Norfolk which led to the destruction of the ironclad CSS Virginia as its draft was too deep to be withdrawn up the James River.  The Confederate government grew concerned about this and wondered when the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Gen. Joseph Johnston, would strike back.

At Seven Pines he took his best shot.  With McClellan’s army split by the Chickahominy River, Johnston grabbed his chance and massed his smaller army to attack the two Union corps that had crossed.  On May 31st, despite a tactically complex plan and some Confederate forces taking the wrong road, one Union corps was badly damaged.  Reinforcements arrived in time to stabilize the line and the rest of the attacks became slaughter pens in nature.  Some 11,000 casualties were the result of the two days of fighting that also saw the wounding of Confederate commander Johnston.  For a day, his second in command, G.W. Smith, lead the army and he was replaced a day later by Robert. E. Lee who would lead this army into American military legend.  Within the month, Lee would smash McClellan back from Richmond in the Seven Days battles.

This month’s program offers the twists and turns that complicated an easy plan.  The army was relatively new and not firing on all cylinders (similar problems would plague Lee as well in the Seven Days) but Seven Pines served up an interesting educational experience for the South’s major army.  Teaching us this month is National park Service ranger Robert Dunkerly.  On the staff of the Richmond National Battlefield park in Virginia, he has led tours of Seven Pines sites over the years.

Robert M. Dunkerly is a historian, award-winning author, and speaker who is actively involved in historic preservation and research.  He holds a degree in History from St. Vincent College and a Masters in Historic Preservation from Middle Tennessee State University.  He has worked at nine historic sites, written twelve books and over twenty articles on both the Civil War and Revolutionary War.  His research includes archaeology, colonial life, military history, and historic commemoration.  He is currently President of the Richmond Civil War Round Table, and serves on the Preservation Commission for the American Revolution Round Table-Richmond.  He has taught courses at Central Virginia Community College, the University of Richmond, and the Virginia Historical Society.  Dunkerly is currently a Park Ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park.  He has visited over 400 battlefields and over 900 historic sites worldwide.  When not reading or writing, he enjoys hiking, camping, and photography.

We hope that you will join us for a wonderful program.

Last Month’s Program


We all enjoyed a fine presentation by noted Tennessee based Civil War author and historian Randy Bishop with an overview of the several books and topics of his research.  He has written about touring battlefields in Tennessee and Kentucky as well as Tennessee’s Civil War generals and the Tennessee Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia.  An entertaining speaker and as nice a guy as you could ever meet, Randy’s program was very well received by our membership.  We look forward to having him back in the future.




August 2015 – Greg Bayne, president, American Civil War Roundtable of the United Kingdom – “Why Europe Didn’t Intervene in the Civil War”

September 2015 – Rob Cross, historian – “

October 2015 – Wayne Motts, Director, National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, PA – “The Civil War In Artifacts”

November 2015 – Michael Manning, National Park Service retired – “The U.S. Regular Army In The Civil War”

December 2015 – Jonathan Walsh, Fort Donelson CWRT – “Carter Family at the Battle of Franklin”

January 2016 – Dr. John Steinberg, Austin Peay State University History Department Chair – “Lincoln and the Russians”

: DUES ARE DUE AT THE JULY 2015 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:

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

Please plan on paying your dues at this month’s meeting.



Johnsonville State Historic Park Event – Saturday, July 18th, 2015 Features the One and Only Thomas Cartwright

Company “Aytch” Campfire by the Lake

Johnsonville State Historic Park is proud to feature renowned Civil War historian, Mr. Thomas Cartwright of Brentwood, Tennessee, as he performs an amazing, one-man theatrical performance as Confederate private Sam Watkins in “Company Aytch: A Side Show of the Big Show.”  As a first-person performance, you will be drawn directly into the horrors and even the comedies of the Civil War and get to hear first-hand.  Watkins’ amazing experiences are seen from the eyes of a private soldier during the Civil War.  Please arrive early enough to allow for parking and to get a good seat for the “not to be missed” one time only performance.  The program starts at 8 PM but come early to explore this beautiful and historic state park on the Tennessee River.  For more information call the park at 931-535-2789

The park is located off US Highway 70 at New Johnsonville, TN.  Take Tennessee Highway 13 south from Clarksville to US 70 at Waverly (be sure to stop and visit their Civil War fort up on the hill above the town) and turn right on US 70 to the park.


Fort Donelson Civil War Roundtable program – Thursday, July 16th, 2015


Our neighbors over in Dover, TN are having a wonderful program on Thursday, July 16h, 2015.  The speaker is Shelby Harriel who is a noted historian from Mississippi.  She will be speaking on the topic of Women Soldiers of the Civil War.  A few books and some essays have been written on this topic and now we can enjoy a program locally.

The meeting takes place at 7 PM at the Stewart County Visitors Center which is right across the road from the entrance of Fort Donelson national Battlefield on US Highway 79.  This is about 45 minutes from Clarksville so head over to Dover and have some fun.

For more fun please visit the web site of this CWRT for the daily Civil War trivia quiz.  Let’s see how you do.  Go to – http://www.ftdonelsoncwrt.org/default.asp?13

Fort Donelson National Battlefield Ranger “Battle Chats” – July 2015 Through September 26th, 2015


Join a Park Ranger and learn a bit more about the park, the stories we preserve and share, and the resources we protect for future generations.   Meet the Park Ranger at these locations:

(Program will be cancelled in case of inclement weather, intense heat, or staff shortages.)

11:00 am {Every Day} Stop #4, the River Batteries

3:00 pm {Every Day} The Dover Hotel, Stop #10

1:00 pm Sundays: The Fort Stop #3

1:00 pm Mondays: The Confederate Monument, Stop #1

1:00 pm Tuesdays: Smith’s Attack, Stop #5

1:00 pm Wednesdays: Graves Battery, Stop #7

1:00 pm Thursdays: The National Cemetery / Free-State, Stop #11

1:00 pm Fridays: Smith’s Attack Stop #5

1:00 pm Saturdays: National Cemetery/ Free State, Stop #11


Atlanta Campaign  Tour Part 2 – The River Line To Jonesboro – October 21st through 25th, 2015


Here we go again for the second portion of the Atlanta Campaign tour sponsored by the Lotz House Civil War Museum of Franklin, TN.

The new dates for the tour are Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 through Sunday, October 25th, 2015.  As with last year the tour leaves from Franklin, Tennessee and returns there with parking by the Lotz House as before.  We will tour Joe Johnston’s River Line, Roswell and the Chattahoochie River crossings, the Battles of Moore’s Mill and Peachtree Creek, the Battle of Atlanta,  Ezra Church and Jonesboro. On the way back to Tennessee we will stop at Allatoona Pass battlefield, site of the first battle of Hood’s Tennessee Campaign.

We will also include stops at the Atlanta History Center (one of the finest Civil War museums in the country), the Margaret Mitchell House, the Road to Tara Museum and more.  We will also tour some of Oakland Cemetery where John Bell Hood watched the Battle of Atlanta.  A full itinerary is forthcoming next week for you.

It looks like the prices will be the same as the tour offered in March and I will have these rates sent to you as part of the full tour email.  There is a deadline for doing the tour of September 15 – we need 30 sold and paid for seats for the tour to go.  Refunds are only by substitution of another which you find or if trip does not mature.   There will be rates for single, double and triple room occupancy so you can work that out with friends among yourselves and take the tour together.  We can also post names and contact information of those seeking room mates as well.

Tour guides, as before, will be Greg Biggs and Robert Jenkins.  Bob is THE expert on Moore’s Mill and Peachtree Creek and has done deep research on Ezra Church as well.  He helped us with the Dalton portion of the tour last year.  He has books out on Peachtree Creek and a recent one on Moore’s Mill and the approaches to the Chattahoochee River by Sherman’s army.  Greg has been giving Atlanta tours since 1993 and spent many years walking the fields and has also been published on the campaign.

We will also have three Atlanta historians to speak to us on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  We have tentatively scheduled Stephen Davis, noted Atlanta scholar and author (he has a great piece on the Battle of Resaca in the current Blue & Gray magazine in fact) who has written two books on the campaign and is a very entertaining speaker; Brad Butkovich, author of the recent book on the Battle of Allatoona Pass; and Charlie Crawford, president of the Georgia Battlefield Association who will speak to us on efforts to save battlefields in the growing sprawl of Atlanta and other places in Georgia.

So save the date folks!  We look forward to having you join us on the second portion of the Atlanta Campaign tour.  Proceeds will benefit the Lotz House Civil War Museum, a 501 (c) 3 organization.  If interested in the details please send an email to Greg Biggs at – Biggsg@charter.net

Updated Information On Confederate Colonels Now Online


Professor Bruce Allardice, author of “Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register” (U. of Missouri, 2008) has posted on his website a list of updates to that book, compiled as new information and new sources have become available.  The book includes short biographies of numerous area colonels, such as David A. Lynn and William A. Forbes of Clarksville, and Randal McGavock of Nashville.  Among the new material is updates on Nashville area colonels, such as William S. Hawkins’ newly discovered place of burial.  The new research adds new detail to the book; adds a “new” colonel (John C. Tracy of MO). Bruce is always seeking new information so if you have something to share that is not in his wonderful nook or on his web site please contact him and elt him know.

Bruce’s website is www.civilwarbruce.com. The book, loaded with tremendous research and details, is available through the publisher, or Amazon.com.


Greg Biggs – President/Programs – Biggsg@charter.net

Eric Good – Vice President – elgood2@msn.com
Karel Lea Biggs – Secretary/Newsletter – karelleabiggs@charter.net
Sherry Hersh – Treasurer – sherry.hersh@cmcss.net

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