Clark H. Lewis, President Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
P. O. Box 1122 3901 Paces Ferry Road
Richmond, VA 23218 Chester, VA 23831-1239
April 2002 PROGRAM
Dr. Edward C. Smith
"The Civil War Through the Eyes of
Lincoln, Lee, and Douglas"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, 2002, at the
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
The Round Table is happy to have Professor Edward C. Smith
of American University as our April speaker. He is well
known in Civil War circles and has sparked much debate with
his often controversial views of the war and Southern
Professor Smith is a third generation Washingtonian and the
Director of American Studies and Special Assistant to the
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at
American University since 1969. He is also a Civil War,
African-American Cultural Heritage, and Art History Lecturer
and Study Tour Leader for the Smithsonian Institution,
National Georgraphic Society, and National Park Service. He
has served as a consultant to numerous federal agencies,
including the U. S. Senate, and in 1977-1978, he took a
leave of absence from teaching to work at The White House as
a presidential speechwriter during the Carter
Smith's writings have appeared in The Yale Review, The
Washington Post, The Military Review, The Gettysburg
National Battlefield Journal, The Wall Street Journal,
Washington History, The Lincoln Review, and numerous other
publications. He is an Honorary Cabinet Member of the
Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum in Beauvoir,
Mississippi, and a member of the Board of Directors of the
Abraham Lincoln Institute of The Library of Congress. Smith
is currently writing two books on the Civil War. In 1991,
he was awarded the American University's Distinguished
Faculty Award. Most recently an endowed scholarship has
been named in his honor at the University of Richmond to
further the study of the Civil War era and beyond. He was
also made a Distinguished Honorary Member of the Virginia
Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Article by Dr. Smith
Review of the March Program
Dr. William C. Cooper, Jr., spoke on "Jefferson Davis and
His Generals." Cooper suggested that, to understand Davis'
relationship with his generals, it is important to look at
his antebellum career. Cooper pointed out that Davis did
not want the union to come apart. He was a devoted patriot.
Davis' father had served as a soldier in the American
Revolution. Davis had graduated from West Point, had been a
hero in the Mexican War, was a representative and U. S.
senator from Mississippi, and was Secretary of War in the
1850s. Davis did not advocate secession. He tried to find
a way out of the crisis, but none was found. Davis waited
in Washington, D. C., until he received notice that
Mississippi had seceded. He told a friend that it was the
saddest day of his life; the union he loved so much had
As president of the Confederacy, Davis would not contemplate
its failure. He believed that the people of the South must
have a strong allegiance and loyalty to the new nation. The
old party system was a thing of the past. There were no
more Democrats or Whigs. Davis believed in the "one party
of the South." The cause was above political or personal
ambition. If a man could not put those aside, he was
unworthy of power.
Cooper described Davis' relationship with four generals.
Davis knew Joseph E. Johnston well, and they had something
of a history together. Johnston had received important
appointments from Davis, and the two were very cordial
before the war. The problem between them developed over
rank. When the full generals of the Confederacy were
announced in the fall of 1861, Johnston was fourth on the
list behind Samuel Cooper, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Lee.
Johnston was outraged. When the war began, he had been
Quartermaster General in the old army, the highest ranking
of its officers. He felt he should be the highest ranking
Confederate general. When he complained to Davis, the
president was enraged. Johnston had exhibited pride and
ambition, and Davis only saw him as putting self above the
cause. Their relationship was poisoned from then on, and
neither man ever trusted the other.
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was the first Confederate
hero, the conquerer of Fort Sumter. He was happy to be
fifth on the list of full generals. Beauregard's first
problems with Davis came immediately after First Manassas.
The president began to question Beauregard's loyalty. After
the Battle of Shiloh, Beauregard went on sick leave without
permission. Davis was incensed and replaced him with
Braxton Bragg. Davis never regained his trust in
As commander of the Army of Tennessee, Braxton Bragg was a
good organizer and trainer of men. Davis looked upon him
favorably because, when Bragg was commanding at Pensacola
early in the war, he never questioned orders that sent men
away from his command. Davis saw his abilities and felt
that Bragg was committed to the Confederacy. Bragg was a
poor field general, and eventually Davis had to remove him
Robert E. Lee had an outstanding reputation when the war
began. He served for a time as Davis' personal advisor.
After some unsuccessful field commands, Lee returned to
Richmond. Davis named him commander of the Army of Northern
Virginia after the Battle of Fair Oaks. The two men agreed
on the Confederacy's approach to the war. Lee was a great
subordinate as well as a great field general. He kept Davis
informed, and there was great trust between them.
Cooper concluded that Davis' great commitment to the
Confederacy may have been the very thing that hurt him the
most in dealing with his generals. He did not utilize
Johnston and Beauregard properly because of personal
feelings and was too loyal to Bragg for too long.
This month's raffle prize is the new book A Scythe of Fire:
The Civil War Story of the Eighth Georgia Infantry Regiment,
by Warren Wilkinson and Steven E. Woodworth.
Read Danny Witt's review of this book.
Spring Field Trip
The Richmond Civil War Round Table's Spring field trip will
be on May 4 and will a visit to the Averasboro and
Bentonville battlefields in North Carolina. Mark L. Bradley
will be the tour guide. Bradley is a native North
Carolinian and the author of Last Stand in the Carolinas:
The Battle of Bentonville and This Astounding Close: The
Road to Bennett Place. He is an experience tour guide and
should make this a memorable trip.
Cost for the trip will be $30.00 per person. The bus will
depart from the shopping center parking lot at the corner of
Brook Road and Parham at 6:30 a.m. Return will be around
6:30 p.m. that evening. Please bring a lunch and drinks.
Morning and afternoon snacks will be furnished.
You can make a reservation by giving your check to Art
Bergeron at one of the meetings or by mailing it to:
3901 Paces Ferry Road
Chester, VA 23831-1239
Civil War Classes at University of Richmond
Dr. Jack Mountcastle is offering the following two classes.
They will be held from 7:00 - 9:30 P.M., and the fee for
each one is $31.00. On Monday, April 15, the topic will be
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. This evening, the class will
look closely at the man and his family, the troops he led in
battle, and his leadership style. On Monday, May 13, the
topic will be John Brown Gordon. The class will look
closely at this Confederate general from Georgia who was
wounded in action five times and selected to serve as
commander of Confederate troops during the official
surrender ceremony at Appomattox. Call the School of
Continuing Studies at 804-289-8133 for registration
information. Their hours are 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., M - Th,
and 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Friday.
Ukrops' Golden Gift Program
Once again this year, we will be collecting Ukrops' receipts
from its Golden Gift Program to benefit the Richmond
Battlefields Association (RBA). Please remember to solicit
these receipts from friends and co-workers who may otherwise
not donate them to any particular organization. Your
support of the RBA is greatly appreciated.
The Round Table needs a volunteer to take responsibility for
setting up snacks for our monthly meeting. Please see
Richard Grosse for details or call him at 798-1051. Thanks
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2002
To facilitate the printing and timely distribution of the
monthly newsletter, information for it should be submitted
to the editors no later than the following dates:
for May; May 24
for June; June 21 for July; July 19 for August; August 23
for September; September 20 for October; October 18
for November; and November 22 for December
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
3901 Paces Ferry Road
Chester, VA 23831-1239