September Meeting and Newsletter

September 20th, 2017 – Our 160th meeting.  We continue our thirteenth year!

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at the Bone & Joint Center, 980 Professional Park Drive, right across the street from Tennova 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  – “Gen. Charles F. Smith: Teacher of Civil War Generals”


In the pantheon of Union generals, few, other than those who have studied the depth of the Federal command structure, will know of Gen. Charles F. Smith.  And yet he was considered at the war’s start to be one of the very best who wore a star and his reputation preceded him.  He was held in awe by Grant, Sherman and others.  Sadly, he died in early 1862 before Shiloh, where his presence on that field might have made a big difference.


From the training field at West Point to the entrenchments at Fort Donelson, Charles Ferguson Smith was the soldier’s soldier.  The call of duty was a magic sound for which he was always ready to make every sacrifice. He was the very model of a soldier, calm, prudent, self-poised, and bold. During his 40-year military career, these qualities earned him the respect and admiration of his peers.  However, his story is more than an account of battles fought and victories won. Through his correspondence, we discover a man who combined the qualities of a faithful officer, an excellent disciplinarian, an able commander, and a modest, courteous gentleman.


Our speaker this month is Allen Mesch.  He is a Civil War author, educator, and historian.  He has written three books on the Civil War: Teacher of Civil War Generals: Major General Charles Ferguson Smith, Soldier and West Point Commandant; Your Affectionate Father, Charles F. Smith; and Charles A. Marvin – “Two Years, Six Months, and Eleven Days.” Allen’s latest project is Preparing for Disunion, which is about the role West Point commandants played in preparing Civil War generals.   He teaches classes on the Civil War in Collin College’s SAIL program.  Allen also manages a web site, Civil War Journeys, which contains over 4,000 battlefield photographs and the Civil War Blog Salient Points.


Allen earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has extensive experience in both technical and management positions in engineering, economics, and planning with major multinational petroleum companies.  He will have copies of his Smith books for sale at the meeting.


Last Month’s meeting


Todd Van Beck gave us one of the finest programs we have ever had on a topic that, on its face, would not seem conducive to such plaudits.  And yet his full master of the topic of Civil War embalming surgeons and their accomplishments was delivered with great humor, majestic knowledge and the tying up of several subjects into a versatile and informative program.  The advances made by these men, who had to deal with death on a massive scale from private soldiers to the President of the United States, was tremendous, some of whose effects are felt even today.  We thank Todd very much for his outstanding program.




October 2017 – Ed Semmes, historian – “Admiral Raphael Semmes And The Cruise of the CSS Alabama”

November 2017 – Scott Sallee, historian/author – “Joe Porter’s War: The Civil War in Northeast Missouri, 1862” (based on his book)

December 2017 – Jim Lewis, Chief Ranger, Stones River National Battlefield – topic TBA

January 2018 – The one and only Ski, Clarksville CWRT – topic TBA

March 2018 – David Deatrick, Louisville CWRT – “Kentucky Union General Lovell Rosseau”

IMPORTANT –  MEMBERS AND DUES: DUES ARE DUE AT THE JULY 2017 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

Please plan on paying your dues at this month’s meeting.  If you cannot attend please send payment to Greg Biggs, 2600 W. Henderson Way, Clarksville, TN 37042.




Lotz House, Franklin, TN. Civil War Symposium – Saturday, September 16th, 2017


The Lotz House is hosting a two-part symposium reflecting on the “Forgotten Battle of Franklin – Dec. 17, 1864“ and “10,000 Secrets Unearthed,” the largest caches of Confederate bullets ever unearthed in Middle Tennessee. Speakers include Lotz House historian Thomas Cartwright and Bryan Lane.


Cartwright will speak on the forgotten Battle of Franklin fought on December 17, 1864.  He will discuss the military aspects of this retreat from Nashville to Franklin, Spring Hill and Columbia, as well as how it affected the people.  Bryan Lane will speak on the battle from Columbia to Alabama. Lane is a lifelong student of American History. He recently published “Tennessee Hero: Confederate Brigadier General John Adams,” and his articles have appeared in Civil War Times Illustrated and Blue and the Gray Magazine. Additionally, we are also sharing the announcement and story of one of the largest caches of Confederate bullets ever unearthed or discovered in Middle Tennessee.  Renowned relic hunter William Henry unearthed a cast iron cooking pot filled with 10,000 Minie balls, which will soon be on display in the Lotz House. Each participant will receive one of these Minie bullets.  On Dec. 17, following the Battle of Nashville, the Confederates were retreating south down Franklin Rd.  This cache was unearthed north of the Harpeth River. Lotz House guide and avid metal detector Robert Blythe will join Andy Willoughby to make a presentation on metal detecting. They will discuss the significance of the Henry find and the current opportunities for metal detecting on the battlefield in Franklin


Seating is limited so register today by calling or emailing Laura Westbrook at the Lotz House, (615) 790-7190 or by  Tickets are $50 per person with lunch included.


The symposium is being held at Nashville-Franklin Elks Lodge #72 in Franklin beginning at 10 AM and ending at 2:30 PM.


Civil War Tour of Mclemore’s Cove, Chickamauga Campaign – Saturday, October 7th, 2017


On Saturday, October 7, the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era, Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA, will hold an exclusive bus tour of the McLemore’s Cove region.  Led by the incomparable Jim Ogden, renowned historian of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and the Center’s own director, Brian Steel Wills, author of an award-winning biography of General Thomas, we will explore and assess the operations that were set to occur before the pivotal engagement of Chickamauga.  The tour leaves Kennesaw State at 8 Am and returns by 5 PM.


The tour cost is $49 and the excursion will include maps and lunch, in addition to touring sites that most visitors to the area do not explore.  Please plan to join us on this exciting adventure to the opening salvos of the Chickamauga Campaign.


For more information and how to register and pre-pay, please send an email to –


We look forward to seeing you on October 7 and at all future Civil War Center events!


Vet-Fest To be Held At Fort Negley, October 14-15, 2017


Vet Fest is an exciting and unique family oriented celebration at historic Fort Negley this October 14-15, 2017!  Co-hosts VETLINX and Operation Stand Down Tennessee, both nonprofit organizations are organizing VetFest, a large, free and fun event for military veterans and their family, friends, neighbors, and supporters.


The event is happening Saturday, October 14, from 11 AM to 6 PM and Sunday, October 15, from 1 PM to 5 PM


The event is a Celebration of Service and is a family friendly festival featuring all day entertainment and activities for all ages, onsite Veteran resources, military history displays, contests, prize giveaways, and vendors.  Its purpose is to recognize military Veterans service and the service of their family members and increase awareness of and access to community resources.


Admission is free and there will be food vendors on site all weekend.  Parking will in the areas around Fort Negley.  Come and join us as we celebrate American Veterans!

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