August 21st, 2019 – Our 181st meeting. We continue our fifteenth year!
The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, August 21st 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 – “General George Gordon Meade: A Leadership Reappraisal”
George G. Meade has not been treated kindly by history. Victorious at Gettysburg, the biggest battle of the Civil War, Meade was the longest-serving commander of the Army of the Potomac, leading his army through the brutal Overland Campaign and on to the ultimate capture of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. Serving alongside his new superior, Ulysses S. Grant, in the last year of the war, his role has always been overshadowed by the popular Grant. This first full-length study of Meade’s entire two year tenure as commander of the Army of the Potomac seeks to bring him out from Grant’s shadow and into focus as one of the top three Union generals of the war.
John G. Selby digs deeply into the primary sources to find a general bestride a large army he could manage well and a treacherous political environment he neither fully understood nor cared to engage. An able career officer appointed to lead the largest and most important Union army in the aftermath of the debacle at Chancellorsville, the very apolitical Meade soon found himself in a political hot seat that ultimately cost him his most precious possession, his reputation.
Meade’s time as commander began on a high note, the defensive victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. But when he failed to fight Lee’s retreating army that July and into the fall of 1863, the political knives came out, and he spent the winter of 1863-1864 struggling to retain his job as the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War sought to have him dismissed. Confined by strategic and operational parameters established by President Lincoln, Secretary of War Stanton, and General Halleck, Meade saw his army reduced in size and his operational mobility restricted. Meade offered to resign when Grant was appointed commander of all the Union armies in March 1864, but Grant told him to keep his job. Together, they managed the Overland Campaign and the initial attacks on Petersburg and Richmond in 1864. This study uncovers a much more active role for Meade in the Virginia campaigns of 1864 than hitherto acknowledged, finding Meade to have more responsibility than usually presented for both the accomplishments and failures of the fighting that year. The study closes with Meade’s role in the Appomattox Campaign, which is another moment of victory and vindication for Meade and his army which is often minimized to enhance the success of Philip Sheridan.
By basing his study on the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, original Meade letters, and the letters, diaries, journals, and reminiscences of contemporaries, Selby shows that Meade was a much more active, thoughtful, and enterprising commander than usually assumed. At the same time, this sensitive and reflective man accepted a position that was as much political as it was military, even though he knew that the political dimensions of the job might ultimately destroy his reputation, if not his livelihood. Meade predicted much of the criticism that surrounded him for the two years he led the army, but he stubbornly persisted in his job. He paid a greater price than he anticipated for his leadership, and it is time to re-evaluate more positively his tenure as commander of the Army of the Potomac.
Dr. Selby’s book on General Meade will be available at the meeting.
John G. Selby is professor of history at Roanoke College and the former holder of the John R. Turbyfill Chair in History at the same. A Civil War scholar, Selby wrote Virginians at War: The Civil War Experiences of Seven Young Confederates and co-edited a large collection of published papers, Civil War Talks: Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and His Fellow Veterans.
Last Month’s Speaker
Dr. Thomas Flagel once again, gave us an amazing program this time on the joint Union and Confederate reunion at Gettysburg in 1913, the topic of his most recent book. Laced with terrific accounts of the veterans themselves, what they wanted to see and do, often versus what those who organized it and attended to speak at it wanted to do, gave us a tremendous insight of the event. Humorous at times, sad at others, the program brought us there and Dr. Flagel’s suprb delivery added to it all. We thank him for coming to see us – cannot wait for him to come back sometime.
September 2019 – Brian McCutchen, Fort Donelson National Battlefield
October 2019 – Dr. David Gregg, pastor, historian – “John Bell Hood in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1864”
November 2019 – Dr. Tim Johnson, historian and author, Lipscomb University – “For Duty and Honor: Tennessee’s Mexican war Experience”
December 2019 – Ed Kennedy, historian/author – “Horses In The War Between The States”
January 2020 – James Knight, author/historian – “The Battle of Pea Ridge”
Some of our speakers are authors and bring books to sell at our meetings. Please support them by buying their books.
IMPORTANT – MEMBERS AND DUES: – DUES ARE DUE AT THE JULY 2019 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.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A NAME TAG THEN YOU ARE NOT CURRENT WITH YOUR DUES. PLEASE PAY AT THIS MEETING AND GET CURRENT SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO BRING FINE PROGRAMS.
CIVIL WAR NEWS AND EVENTS
New Book Of Images by Noted Sherman Photographer George Barnard Now Available
100 Significant Civil War Photographs: Atlanta Campaign by Stephen Davis
The American Civil War was the first war in which both sides widely used entrenchments, repeating rifles, ironclad warships, and telegraphed communications. It was also the first American war to be extensively photographed. Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy O’Sullivan are famous for having made iconic photographs in the Civil War’s eastern theater. George N. Barnard deserves to be ranked in this top tier for his photographic work in the war’s western theater.
100 Significant Civil War Photographs: Atlanta Campaign, by Stephen Davis, presents a riveting collection of Barnard’s camera work. Most of the photographs are from Barnard’s time in Atlanta, mid-September to mid-November 1864, during the Federal occupation of the city. Some were published by him in 1866, but many more have appeared in the countless pictorial histories of the Civil War.
No comprehensive collection of Barnard’s Atlanta photographs has been published. With this volume, Stephen Davis attempts to advance the scholarly literature of Barnardiana. Two of the photographs reproduced in this book are believed never to have been widely published.
About the author: Stephen Davis of Cumming, Ga., is the author of four books on the Atlanta Campaign. He has been studying George Barnard’s photographs for decades.
American Battlefield Trust Raising Funds to Buy Land to Expand Stones River National Battlefield
Our member Howard Mann sent me this important note from the American Battlefield Trust and it indeed warrants inclusion in our newsletter as this will help expand a battlefield in Tennessee that badly needs to add more land to its holdings. Stones River National Battlefield only owns a little over 20 per cent of the land out of the total battlefield footprint so this chance is terrific – and the price is right! Also – a big THANK YOU to O’Reilly Auto Parts who decided to sell this important land rather than build their new warehouse on it which would have encroached on the view shed of the battlefield. This site is along the Nashville Pike. Well done! As follows:
Have you ever found something that you thought you had lost forever? Perhaps a photograph, a letter, a piece of jewelry, or something else of great value to you?
If so, then you know exactly how I feel at this moment about the 42-acre tract we have a chance to preserve on the Stones River Battlefield (a.k.a. Murfreesboro) in Tennessee. The parcel is in the core of the fighting and, if saved, would help to connect two widely separated wings of the battlefield that are already protected by the National Park Service. On this land, the soldiers closed out a bloody 1862 and entered the new year with three days of fighting and nearly 25,000 casualties. The Union’s strategic victory at Stones River set the stage for campaigns into the heart of the Confederacy, while providing a much-needed northern morale boost.
We’ve had our eye on this particular tract for years, but when a private company purchased it for development, we thought all hope was lost.
Fortunately, we were wrong. The company that bought the tract, O’Reilly Auto Parts, appreciates the unique history of the property and has generously agreed to sell it to the Trust for preservation.
The purchase price is $4.0 million, but thanks to a state matching grant program created by the hard work of preservationists in Tennessee, together with federal funding, nearly the entire cost is covered. In fact, the Trust needs to raise just $170,000 of the total cost to secure this tract. (That’s a $33.94 -to-$1 match of your donation dollar!)
Thank you for your generous dedication,
American Battlefield Trust
P.S. Please don’t let this incredible opportunity pass us by! We may never again be in a position to preserve such a significant tract of this crucial Civil War battlefield. I implore you to make the most of the $33.94 -to-$1 match by donating to save 42 acres at Stones River today.
The yellow coded tract below is the land that can be saved with your and our donations!
BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS!!!! A Large Selection of New Books Still Available at the Nashville CWRT This Month!
Danny Gilkey is a retired history professor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville and he recently donated hundreds of books for the Nashville and Clarksville CWRTs to sell to members and raise funds for speakers for each CWRT. Thanks to his great generosity these will be available for sale at this month’s meeting! So come prepared to shop and add some great stuff to your library all while benefitting your CWRT! Help give these fine books a new home! Besides Civil War titles, there will also be books on these subjects: colonial and Revolutionary War books, slavery, Reconstruction, later 19th Century wars, World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and Cold War topics. Danny also made a most generous donation of some reference books to the Fort Negley library which is open to the public!
We appreciate those of you who bought from this great book selection last month! The CWRT needs funds to keep getting in speakers and the book sales go towards that so thank you! The prices for these great books or 50 per cent off or more so some great deals here for your library! Please keep buying and supporting your CWRT!
Third Annual Congress of Civil War Roundtables – St. Louis, Missouri – September 20-22, 2019
The Civil War Congress was formed to help save and promote struggling CWRTs as well as to help new CWRTs get up and running. The main design is to have programs that help a CWRT grow and sustain itself. This is done through the various seminars that members and officers from the nation’s CWRTs can attend. Also included are tours of local historic sites.
This year’s event is to be held in St. Louis at the Missouri Civil War Museum at Jefferson Barracks just south of the city. Jefferson Barracks was an important U.S. Army post prior to and during the Civil War and many of the war’s best known officers served there as younger officers including Jefferson Davis, U.S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and more. The Missouri Civil War Museum is a must-see with the story of the state that had the third largest number of battles being well told. Loads of artifacts are displayed that help to tell the tale.
Learn from CWRT experts how they are addressing the issues of member recruitment and retention, marketing, fundraising and governance, participate in breakout sessions to discuss topics you define and network with CWRT leaders from around the country. Find out how you can work with one another for a sustainable CWRT experience. Eight great speakers will share what they do as well as offer historical lectures.
There will also be opportunities to tour the fabulous Missouri Civil War Museum, hear first-hand from General Ulysses S. Grant, find out how the Missouri guerrilla war was conducted and partisans were hunted through a presentation by author James Erwin and tour the nearby Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery and the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (White Haven).
To register for the conference please go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-cwrt-congress-tickets-55844856469?aff=mcivte The fee is $135 per person.
Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis Southwest
5 Lambert Drury Place
St. Louis, MO 63088
Telephone: (636) 861-8300
USE OUR GROUP NUMBER: 2369307
Drury Hotels features the following:
Free Hot Breakfast – Start every day with make-your-own Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, KELSO+BROS® coffee and more. Free hot breakfast is served daily from 6–9:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7–10 a.m. on weekends
Free 5:30 Kickback®* – Join us from 5:30–7 p.m. every evening to enjoy free hot food and cold beverages at our 5:30 Kickback®. We feature a rotating menu of hot food, beer, wine, mixed drinks and soft drinks.
Free Wi-Fi Throughout the Hotel – Get the score, check your social networks or email family members from anywhere in the hotel – for free!
Free Soft Drinks and Popcorn – Freshly popped popcorn and a refreshing beverage make a great snack! Stop by the lobby for free soft drinks and popcorn every evening.
On-Site Facilities – Take advantage of the business center, fitness center or pool while you’re away from home. Print your boarding pass, finish a presentation or check e-mail in our business centers.
Please make your reservations by Sunday, August 18, 2019 to receive your group rate. Reservations made after this date will be subject to prevailing rate and availability. Reservations may also be made by calling 1-800-325-0720 and refer to your group number 2369307.
CLARKSVILLE CWRT OFFICERS