Brag Bowling, President Rob Monroe, Editor
3019 Kensington Ave 2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23221 Richmond, VA 23228-3040
May 2003 PROGRAM
Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.
Afro-Confederates and the American Civil War"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 13, 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.
Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., is a research archivist and the
University of Virginia's Records Manager. He specializes in
Civil War and African-American history and is the author of
three books: 19th Virginia Infantry (1987), Charlottesville
and the University of Virginia in the Civil War (1988), and
Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia
(University Press of Virginia, 1995). The latter earned him
a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Fellowship as a
scholar-in-residence. Black Confederates, a History Book
Club selection, was named by Publisher's Weekly as one of
1995's best non-fiction books and cited as one of the 1,100
most important Civil War books in David J. Eicher's The
Civil War in Books: An Analytical Bibliography (University
of Illinois Press, 1997). His Charlottesville book remains
the only single-volume scholarly history of the city,
Albemarle County, and the University during the War Between
the States. He has addressed several distinguished round
tables, including the Civil War Round Table of Chicago (the
nation's oldest); the Civil War Round Table of Milwaukee
(the nation's second oldest); the Civil War Round Table of
Philadelphia; the Lynchburg Civil War Round Table; the
Rockbridge Civil War Round Table; and the Waynesboro Civil
War Round Table.
Professor Jordan is a member of the Advisory Committee on
African-American Interpretation at Monticello, the Founders
Award Committee (Museum of the Confederacy), and is also a
state officeholder by virtue of appointments by three
governors to the State Historical Records Advisory Board
(1996) and the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of
Natural History (1997) with reappointments to both boards by
Governor Mark Warner in 2002. Jordan resides with his wife
Lorraine in Charlottesville.
Review of the April Program
DeAnne Blanton gave a lively and informative presentation on
"They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War."
She used slides of wartime and postwar images to show those
in attendance what some of these women looked like. Blanton
said that she first became interested in the topic by
accident. While doing research for a patron, she found an
old file labeled "Women Soldiers." Kept by a War Department
clerk early in the 20th century, the folder contained
various notes and newspaper clippings. Blanton and Lauren
Cook later collaborated to write a book that was published
last year by Louisiana State University Press.
The most famous woman in the Confederate army was Loreta
Velazquez. She was also the most vilified. Velazquez
published her memoirs in 1876 because she desperately needed
money for herself and her family. An early critic of her
story was former general Jubal Early. Blanton acknowledged
that most modern historians have written that Velazquez
could not have done everything she claimed but said that
about 75 percent of her story can be verified.
Mary A. Brown enlisted with her husband in the 31st Maine
Infantry in December 1864. Her identity was discovered the
following month, but she was allowed to stay with the
regiment as a nurse. Brown died in 1936. Frances Clayton
was the most photographed of the women soldiers; four images
of her have survived. Though from Minnesota, she enlisted
with her husband in a Missouri cavalry unit. Her husband
was killed at Stone's River, and Clayton confessed her sex
and left the army after the battle. She then returned home.
Besides Velasquez, the only woman who wrote a memoir of her
service was Sara Emma Edmonds. Her book, Nurse and Spy in
the Union Army, was published during the war. Edmonds was
from Canada but had moved to Michigan. She enlisted as
Franklin Thompson in the 2nd Michigan Infantry. Some men in
her company knew that she was a woman but did not reveal her
secret. Edmonds became the regimental mail carrier. After
recovering from malaria contracted while on the Peninsula in
1862, she became an orderly to Brigadier General Orlanda Poe
at Fredericksburg. Edmonds became sick again after her
regiment was transferred to the Western Theater. She
deserted in Kentucky and went to live with friends in Ohio.
Edmonds sought a pension after the war and was able to
obtain testimonials from her former comrades while at a
regimental reunion. Congress dismissed the desertion
charges against her as a result.
Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was the only woman soldier whose
letters have survived. She enlisted as Lyons Wakeman in the
153rd New York Infantry. Blanton said that Wakeman had
lived and worked as a man prior to the war. Her letters to
her parents were preserved by the family and have been
published. Wakeman became sick after the Red River Campaign
and died of dysentery in a New Orleans hospital.
How many women served as soldiers during the war? Blanton
said that she doesn't know and that we will never know
because only the ones who were discovered during the war or
revealed themselves afterward have been identified. Her
book documents 240 women. Of that number, three were black,
although one passed as a white man. Seventy percent of
these women served in the Union army, with 30 percent in the
Confederate army. Blanton believes that there were many
more women in the Confederate army than have been
discovered. By 1864, the Confederates had stopped sending
women home, and many women had stopped pretending to be men.
Women soldiers served in virtually every large engagement of
the Civil War.
Richmond National Battlefield Park will present an
anniversary program at Drewry's Bluff featuring tours,
discussions, special displays and naval living history.
Information: www.nps.gov/rich or 804-226-1981.
Fort Pocahontas in Charles City County will be the site of
tours, military demonstrations and reenactments of the
Confederate attack against Wilson's Wharf on the James
River. The fort will be open from 9 am to 4 pm each day
with battles at 1 pm. Saturday night's events include a
dance and artillery firing. Information:
www.fortpocahontas.org or 804-829-9722.
The Museum of the Confederacy will open a new exhibition,
"The Confederate Nation". Using its extensive collection of
artifacts, documents and photographs the museum will take a
new look into the government and people of the Confederacy.
Information: www.moc.org or 804-649-1861.
Pamplin Historical Park will feature a living history
program, "With Spade and Shovel: Building Civil War
Earthworks". Special events will focus on the Confederate
Engineering Corps. Information: www.pamplinpark.org or
The Richmond and Petersburg areas will host several Memorial
The remains of three unknown Union soldiers will be laid to
rest with military honors at Poplar Grove National Cemetery
in Petersburg at 11 am. Information: www.nps.gov/pete or
Richmond National Battlefield Park and the Veterans
Administration will hold a special memorial program at noon
in the Fort Harrison National Cemetery on Varina Road.
Information: www.nps.gov/rich or 804-226-1981.
At 1 pm, a new Civil War Trails marker will be dedicated in
Petersburg on Graham Road at the rear entrance to Cameron
Field. At 3 pm Blandford Cemetery will be the site of a
Memorial Day service featuring speakers, re-enactors and
period music. For information on these events log on to
www.craterroad.com/memorialday.html or contact Jerry Wright
Four Civil War authors will be featured at a noon luncheon
at historic Hanover Tavern on Rt. 301. Robert E.L. Krick,
Gordon Rhea, Ann McMillan and Michael Varhola will be on
hand to discuss their books. The $20 fee includes lunch and
a tour of the 18th-century tavern. For reservations call
May 31-June 1
Richmond National Battlefield Park will conduct its popular
anniversary program at Cold Harbor. Tours, demonstrations
and living history will take place throughout the weekend.
Saturday night events include period music and candlelight
tours. Information: www.nps.gov/rich or 804-226-1981.
Richmond Battlefields Association Seeks Your Help
The Richmond Battlefields Association (RBA) is looking for
volunteers to help clear a trail on land the RBA recently
purchased at Fort Harrison. The association would like the
trail to be ready for its annual tour and meeting to be held
Saturday, June 14. Other events that day include a talk and
book signing by Dr. Richard Sommers, author of Richmond
The RBA is hoping to raise funds by participating in the
Ukrop's Golden Gift certificate program. Ukrop's will be
mailing certificates to customers in early May. In the
following weeks the RBA will try to collect as many of these
certificates as possible. The association will receive a
donation by turning these certificates back in to Ukrop's.
The amount of the donation will be determined by the number
of certificates collected. You can help support the RBA by
bringing your certificates to the May or June meetings of
the RCWRT. You may also mail your certificates to:
88 West Square Dr.
Richmond, VA 23233
The RBA is a non-profit organization working to preserve
local battlefields. Information about the association may
be found its website, www.saverichmondbattlefields.org.
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:
June newsletter, May 23
July newsletter, June 20
August newsletter, July 25
September newsletter, August 22
October newsletter, September 26
November newsletter, October 24
December newsletter, November 21
Information may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2003
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Rob Monroe, Editor
2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23228-3040