Brag Bowling, President Rob Monroe, Editor
3019 Kensington Ave 2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23221 Richmond, VA 23228-3040
June 2003 PROGRAM
Chris M. Calkins
"Saving Petersburg's Battlefields"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 10, 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.
Chris Calkins has been with the National Park Service for 29
years and has served at Appomattox Court House National
Historical Park, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National
Military Park, and, since 1981, as an historian and now
Chief of Interpretation at Petersburg National Battlefield.
He has authored eight publications, numerous articles, and
has spoken nationally to many Civil War and battlefield
preservation groups. He is the author of the highly
acclaimed "Lee's Retreat" driving tour (featured in Life and
Southern Living magazines) which is now being used as a
successful example for many other regions in the
Commonwealth and nationwide.
Active in battlefield preservation efforts, he served on the
board of directors for eight years with the Association for
the Preservation of Civil War Sites, Inc., and helped broker
the preservation of seven battle sites around Petersburg and
Appomattox during that time. These include portions of:
White Oak Road, Five Forks, Reams Station, Hatchers Run, The
Sixth Corps Breakthrough (now Pamplin Park), Sailor's Creek
and Lee's rearguard position at Appomattox.
He is a native of Detroit, Michigan, graduated from Longwood
College (now university) in Farmville and is married to the
former Miss Sarah Brown from Appomattox. They live in a
restored 18th century mansion in Petersburg's Old Towne
Calkins will present a discussion of the Land Protection
Report for the proposed General Management Plan at
Petersburg National Battlefield. The talk will cover what
battlefields the park hopes to save and how it will do so.
Calkins will explain the methodology behind the decisions
and how PNB arrived at the proposed 7,000 acre expansion.
Review of the May Program
Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., presented an informative talk on
"History's Heretics: Afro-Confederates and the American
Civil War." He began by discussing an Afro-Virginia who
fought for the Confederacy at the First Battle of
Manassas-John Parker, a slave from King and Queen County.
Parker served as a gunner in a battery but hoped for a Union
victory. Later he escaped and fled to the North. There he
lectured on the causes of the war, charging ten cents
admission to his speeches. Parker advertised himself as the
only black soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia. Jordan
pointed out that this claim was not correct but that a
number of blacks served under General Robert E. Lee in
various capacities during the war.
In 1861, most Southerners thought that their region was
united behind the war effort, regardless of race. This was
not true, but it is an undeniable fact that
Afro-Confederates did voluntarily offer to "live and die in
Dixie." Jordan pointed out that this is not politically
correct but is historically correct. These
Afro-Confederates have largely been ignored by historians.
The historians who try to deny this fact claim that any
blacks who aided the Confederacy did so only because they
were coerced. According to Jordan, however, throughout
history oppressed peoples have actively aided their
oppressors. Afro-Confederates were motivated by several
things, including fear of retribution, loyalty to their
masters and their state, and repudiation of their blackness.
Many free blacks feared being enslaved in a post-war
Confederacy if they did not actively show their loyalty.
Early in the war, many Southerners were willing to accept
blacks in the army, particularly free blacks, but
Confederate governmental policy forbid their enlistment.
Jordan said that blacks nevertheless fought at First
Manassas, the Peninsula, the Seven Days, Sharpsburg, and
Fredericksburg. In particular, blacks acted as
sharpshooters for the Confederate army. Jordan cited
several instances of men who served as snipers. He pointed
out that these men were cheap but effective fighting
machines. If they were killed, the loss was insignificant
because others were ready to take their place.
Jordan stated that body servants were the most loyal
Afro-Confederates. Occasionally, they did take up arms and
fight, but this was rare. Their motivations varied, some
simply enjoying the opportunity to kill whites. Jordan
warned that not all anecdotes about black Confederates are
credible and said that researchers must be very careful
about interpreting the data. One instance he provided was
the conversion of a "color bearer" at Gettysburg into a
"colored flag bearer." When asked about numbers, Jordan
stated that we will never know. He has estimated that ten
percent of Virginia's free blacks and twenty-five percent of
her slaves probably were loyal to the Confederacy.
In war, three things always die-young men, civilians, and
the truth. The truth of the existence of Afro-Confederates
was quickly forgotten. Jordan said that he want to
objectively understand them and their motivations.
Announcements & Events
The Richmond Battlefields Association will be hosting a talk
and tour at Fort Harrison. See the article below.
A ranger from the Petersburg National Battlefield Park will
present the "Battle of Old Men and Young Boys" at the Centre
Hill Mansion in Petersburg. Talks will be held at 11 am, 1
pm and 3 pm. This event is free. For more information call
the park at 804-732-3531.
A reenactment of Grant's 1864 crossing of the James River
will be held east of Hopewell at Flowerdew Hundred off Route
10. Battles will be featured both days as well as a
reconstruction of part of the pontoon bridge that carried
the Union army over the river. Activities take place
between 9 am and 4 pm both days. Admission is $6. For more
information call 804-541-8897.
A ranger from the Petersburg National Battlefield Park will
present "Confederate Recruiting Station" in Olde Town
Petersburg. Talks will be held at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.
Admission is free. For more information call the park at
The Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum in Gordonsville will
feature its popular annual program of medical living
history. This reenactment of a Civil War hospital will be
held at the hotel that was converted into a wartime medical
facility. For more information call the museum at
540-832-2944 or visit its website, www.hgiexchange.org.
June 26 & 28
Blandford Cemetery will be the focus of two programs being
presented by the Petersburg National Battlefield Park.
"Stories in Stone: A Tale of Two Cemeteries" and "Every
Tombstone is a Biography" will be the topics of discussion
on Thursday and Saturday nights respectively. Both events
are free and begin at 7 pm at Blandford Church in
Petersburg. For information call 804-732-3531.
A special anniversary program and living history will be
among the events taking place over the weekend at the Gaines
Mill battlefield off Route 156. Activities include walking
tours, rifle demonstrations and an encampment of Union
infantry. Friday night's program is free and begins at 7
pm. Events take place between 10 am and 5 pm on Saturday
and from 10 am to 4 pm Sunday. For more information contact
the Richmond National Battlefield Park at 804-226-1861 or
log on to www.nps.gov/rich.
News from the Richmond Battlefields Association
The Richmond Battlefields Association (RBA) will hold its
annual tour and meeting on Saturday, June 14. Dr. Richard
Sommers, author of Richmond Redeemed, will speak and sign
books at 1:00 pm at the Varina Episcopal Church on 2835 Mill
Road at Route 5. The talk will be followed by a tour of the
RBA's newly acquired land at Fort Harrison. Admission is
free, donations are appreciated.
The association is seeking to raise funds by participating
in the Ukrop's Golden Gift Certificate program. Ukrop's
mailed certificates to customers in early May. The RBA will
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
is to be determined by the number of certificates collected.
You can help support the RBA by bringing your certificates
to the June meeting of the RCWRT. You may also mail your
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:
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