Brag Bowling, President Rob Monroe, Editor
3019 Kensington Ave 2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23221 Richmond, VA 23228-3040
April 2003 PROGRAM
"They Fought Like Demons:
Women Soldiers in the American Civil War"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 8, 2003, at the
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.) Enter
the basement door on the right side under the front steps.
DeAnne Blanton is a native Virginian who works as a Senior
Archivist at the National Archives in Washington, D. C.,
specializing in 19th century Army records, particularly
those of the Civil War. With Lauren Cook, she is the
co-author of They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the
American Civil War, published by Louisiana State University
Press in 2002. Her article "Women Soldiers of the Civil
War" was published in the spring 1993 issue of Prologue and
earned her the 1993 Sara Jackson Award for original
Popular images of women during the American Civil War
include self-sacrificing nurses, romantic spies, and brave
ladies maintaining hearth and home in the absence of their
men. However, that conventional picture does not tell the
entire story. Hundreds of women assumed male aliases,
disguised themselves in men's uniforms, and charged into
battle as Union and Confederate soldiers, facing down not
only the guns of the adversary but also the gender
prejudices of their society. They Fought Like Demons is the
first book to fully explore and explain these women, their
experiences as combatants, and the controversial issues
surrounding their military service.
Relying on more than a decade of research in primary
sources, They Fought Like Demons documents more than 250
women in uniform and find that their reasons for fighting
mirrored those of men-patriotism, honor, heritage, and a
desire for excitement. Some enlisted to remain with
husbands or brothers, while others had dressed as men before
the war. Some so enjoyed being freed from traditional
women's roles that they continued their masquerade well
after 1865. They Fought Like Demons describes how Yankee
and Rebel women soldiers eluded detection, some for many
years, and even merited promotion.
Review of the February Program
J. A. Barton Campbell presented a lively talk titled "The
Museum of the Confederacy-Past, Present, and Future?" He
covered the history of the museum and summarized where the
organization is today. His presentation ended with comments
on the current challenges the museum faces.
The building known as the White House was constructed in
1818 by John Brockenbrough, President of the Bank of
Virginia. In 1857, Lewis Crenshaw, who was a flour
manufacturer, purchased the home and added a third floor. An
executive mansion was needed in the spring of 1861 for
Confederate President Jefferson Davis after the new
government moved to Richmond. Crenshaw sold the house and
all of its furnishings to the city. It, in turn, leased the
structure to the Confederate government. Davis, his wife,
and their children moved into the mansion in August. Federal
troops occupied the house on April 3, 1865, and continued to
occupy it until 1870. The city got the home back and turned
it into a public school after auctioning off all the
furnishings. When the school closed in 1894, the building
remained unused, and the city announced in 1889 that it
would demolish it. The Ladies Hollywood Memorial
Association decided to acquire the former executive mansion.
In 1890, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society was
formed, and it purchased the house with the view of turning
it into a museum. The Society acquired artifacts from
Confederate veterans until 1895. Called the Confederate
Museum, the building was opened early in 1896. It was
operated until 1976, when a new structure was opened next
door and called the Museum of the Confederacy. Restoration
work then began on the White House, and it reopened to the
public in 1988.
"USA Today" ranked the Museum of the Confederacy as one of
the ten best military museums in the United States. It has
the world's largest collection of Confederate artifacts and
documents. With 550 flags, it holds half of the Confederate
banners that have survived. The museum library contains
200,000 documents, and there are more than 6,000 images in
the museum's collection.
A severe fiscal deficit in 2002 resulted in a significant
staff reduction, and the museum is still operating in the
red. Nevertheless, new efforts have been and are being made
to increase visitation and revenues. The museum shop has
been enlarged. A local company refurbished the porch and
balustrade of the White House. There is now a new
membership brochure, and the staff has created a long-range
plan for the organization. A new exhibit, "The Confederate
Nation," will open on May 23, 2003. In 2005, the museum
will open its first ever exhibit on the Confederate navy.
Is the concept of a Museum of the Confederacy obsolete? Has
such a museum outlived its relevance? Campbell clearly
answered "no" to these questions. Yet the museum faces a
number of challenges. One is its viability as a business.
Will its cash flow improve? Visibility is another problem
because the museum is not easy for many people to find. The
museum must be competitive in receiving artifacts and
Campbell concluded that the Museum of the Confederacy
provides a unique window on the soul of our country. The
organization needs to continue to educate and enlighten the
citizens of the nation and to spread a respect for the
people of the Civil War era.
April 12 & 13
CIVIL WAR WEEKEND
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil
War Soldier, near Petersburg. One of the finest annual
Civil War events in America. Learn first hand what the
Civil War soldiers' experience was like, from enlistment to
battle. Watch exciting tactical demonstrations and mingle
with the soldiers in camp.
BOOK SIGNING AND TALK
Location: Short Pump Barnes and Noble
Frank O'Reilly, author of "The Fredericksburg Campaign:
Winter War on the Rappahannock" and "Stonewall Jackson at
Fredericksburg: The Battle of Prospect Hill", will speak and
sign books. For additional information call 360-0103.
CIVIL WAR PRESERVATION TRUST -- 2003 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
"Breaking the Line: The Petersburg Campaign"
The CWPT will hold its annual conference at the Crowne Plaza
on Canal St. in downtown Richmond. The registration fee of
$475 includes tours, tour guides, coaches, conference
welcome packet, name tags, etc. Hotel reservations not
included. For more details see www.civilwar.org or call
AN EVENING OF SILENT FILMS ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works
Program includes dinner at the Tredegar Cafe followed by the
showing of two films from the silent movie era in the
auditorium of the Civil War Visitor Center. Reservations
and fee required for dinner. Films are free.
For more information contact Mike Andrus at 804 226-1981.
RICHMOND CIVIL WAR DAY AT TREDEGAR IRON WORKS-
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Location: 490 Tredegar Street
Learn what soldier life was like during the Civil War. Union
and Confederate soldiers will perform drill, rifle firings.
Also on hand will be sailors, and civilians with period
music and medical demonstrations.
For more information call Mike Andrus at 804-226-1981 or the
Civil War Visitor Center 804-771-2145.
BATTLE OF FIVE FORKS REENACTMENT
Battle reenactment at 5000-acre Oak Ridge Estate,
Lovingston, south of Charlottesville. This event will
include a battle each day, a Saturday evening dance and
civilian activities. All proceeds go to historic
preservation. Hosted by 7th Virginia Co. F. More
information at www.7thva.com or call 410-529-1399.
Town of Chancellorsville Defeated Rezoaning Request
At a March 25 meeting, the Spotsylvania County Board of
Supervisors unanimously rejected a Northern Virginia
developer's request to rezone about 800 acres of land that
was part of the Battle of Chancellorsville. Dogwood
Development Group had proposed building a number of
businesses and almost 2,000 homes as part of a project to be
called the Town of Chancellorsville. Following more than
seven hours of board discussion and comments from citizens,
the supervisors voted 6-0 to deny Dogwood's request. The
decision against rezoning is viewed as a substantial victory
for several preservation groups that strongly objected to
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RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2003
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Rob Monroe, Editor
2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23228-3040