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July 2004
rcwrt.org
First Vice President:                   Rob Monroe, Editor       
Richard Forrester                     2416 Edenbrook Dr.     
Second Vice President:                  Richmond, VA 23228-3040  
Shep Parsons                          rmonroe@richmond.com   

July 2004 PROGRAM Robert Jay Trout, "Stuart's Horse Artillery" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 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. A native of Lebanon, PA, Robert Jay Trout is a retired schoolteacher who has been active as a living historian since 1980. After years of research, he assembled a living history unit based on Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his staff. Trout's first book, They Followed the Plume, was the culmination of this research. He edited Riding with Stuart: Reminiscences of an Aide-de-Camp (by Lt. Theodore S. Garnett) and wrote With Pen and Saber: The Letters and Diaries of J.E.B. Stuart's Staff Officers, In the Saddle with Stuart: The Story of Frank Smith Robertson of Jeb Stuart's Staff and Galloping Thunder: The Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion. Last year, Trout self-published The Hoss: Officer Biographies and Rosters of the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion. Lt. Garnett, aide-de-camp to Stuart, once stated, "The honor of firing the first gun at Fort Sumter is no longer in doubt. The proud distinction of firing the last gun at Appomattox is claimed by many, but the command that fired the most shot and shell, first, last, and all the time, is perhaps, without doubt, the ever-glorious and gallant Stuart Horse Artillery." Historians have long treated the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion as just an extension of Stuart's vaunted cavalry, but the Battalion was a separate organization built to serve with the cavalry, to give it offensive punch. The Battalion's story encompasses virtually every battlefield in the Eastern Theater of the war as well as scores of lonely picket posts on dark stormy nights. Over 2,200 men served in the Battalion, which eventually comprised ten batteries. John Esten Cooke said that they had something of the tiger in them. Indeed, the record of the men of the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion can stand with any artillery organization in any army, Northern or Southern.
Review of the June Program
Gary Ecelbarger
Gary Ecelbarger was the featured speaker at the June meeting of the Richmond Civil War Round Table. Speaking on the 142nd anniversary of the Battle of Port Republic, Ecelbarger gave an insightful -- and often humorous -- look into the Union leadership that opposed Stonewall Jackson at this last battle of his famed Valley Campaign. After escaping a pincer movement at Strasburg on June 1, 1862, Jackson retreated up the Shenandoah Valley and was pursued by Union generals John C. Fremont and James Shields. In the 1840s, Shields had challenged Abraham Lincoln to a duel. Ecelbarger described Shields as "the quintessential political general." In May, Shields' poorly supplied troops marched a grueling 380 miles - even more than Jackson's lauded foot soldiers. Ecelbarger noted that troop movements in the Valley were often impeded by weather, as the spring of 1862 was the wettest on record in the 1800s. Jackson halted his retreat and turned to engage the disorganized Federals at Cross Keys and Port Republic. Despite their lack of coordination, Union forces almost succeeded in capturing Jackson on the morning of June 8. Cavalry forces under Col. Samuel Sprigg Carroll surprised the Rebels, stormed into Port Republic and captured three of Jackson's staff officers (two later escaped). Ecelbarger blamed Confederate cavalry for this mishap, stating that they had "failed Jackson" following the death of Turner Ashby a few days earlier at nearby Harrisonburg. After their loss at Port Republic, Shields and Carroll placed blame on one another. Ecelbarger does not hesitate to point fingers at both. Shields wanted Carroll to burn Conrad's Bridge and the Union colonel failed to burn the bridge at Port Republic. Ecelbarger stated that Carroll used an old dispatch in a weak effort to defend himself. For his part, Shields repeatedly squandered opportunities through the poor coordination of his troops. The Union commander was further slowed by rumors of Longstreet's troops coming to the Valley. Ecelbarger stated that Shields probably doctored a June 4 dispatch he would later use to defend himself. In going through various accounts of the action, Ecelbarger has found at least seven instances where Shields' troops refer to the battle as a "blunder."
New Book by Richmond Native Examines Georgia Regiment Even though Georgia supplied the third highest number of soldiers for the Confederate cause, only a handful of Georgia unit histories have been recorded. Richmond native John J. Fox III has discovered many unpublished letters and diaries written by Georgians during the war and tells their story in Red Clay to Richmond: Trail of the 35th Georgia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A. The unit came to Virginia and fought at Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Petersburg, the Wilderness, in the Shenandoah Valley and elsewhere. Fox follows the 35th through all four years of the war. The 496-page hardback is complete with soldiers' roster, 22 maps and 74 photos. Red Clay to Richmond is available locally at the Museum of the Confederacy and at Book People, 536 Granite Avenue.
Delinquent Memberships There are still a number of delinquent memberships for the 2004 Richmond Civil War Round Table. If you have not paid your dues for this year, please do so at this time or at the July meeting. Please check the mailing label of this newsletter. If there is a red dot on your address label we may not have received your payment. If your payment has been mailed recently, please disregard this. If you have any questions, please see RCWRT secretary Sandy Parker at the next meeting or contact her at 804-276-7867.
JULY EVENTS July 18 Richmond City Walking Tour. A Richmond National Battlefield Park historian will conduct a tour of lesser-known sites including the Castle Thunder and Libby Prison sites, surviving hospital buildings and the Elizabeth Van Lew home site. The free 90-minute, 1 mile walk will begin at 2pm at the corner of 21st and Cary in downtown Richmond. Info: www.nps.gov/rich or 804-226-1981. July 30-31 Battle of the Crater 140th Anniversary Weekend. Living historians and Petersburg National Battlefield Park historians present the story of the "horrid pit." Free with park admission. Info: www.nps.gov/pete or 804-732-3531. August 3 Gen. McClellan's 1862 Civil War Headquarters at Harrison's Landing. Special tour at Berkeley Plantation recreates the James River encampment of the Union army following the Seven Days' Battles. Reservations are required for this 9am-11am tour. Info: 1-888-466-6018. August 7 Walking Tour of Civil War Petersburg, Old Town Area. Begins at 10am and 2pm at City's Visitor Center and takes approximately two hours. Info: www.nps.gov/pete or 804-732-3531. August 7 Ft. Harrison Interpretive Bike Tour. Casual seven-mile bike ride led by a Richmond National Battlefield Park ranger. Begins at 10am at Ft. Harrison Visitor's Center and includes important sites from the 1864 campaign for Richmond. Tour includes visits to sites associated with the United States Colored Troops. Info: www.nps.gov/rich or 804-226-1981. August 7-8 Living History at City Point (Hopewell), part of Petersburg National Battlefield Park. Ranger programs and demonstrations offer a glimpse of what life was like during the siege. This is where Gen. Ulysses S. Grant set up his headquarters and the Union armies established their supply base and main hospital. The event is free. Info: www.nps.gov/pete or 804-732-3531.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2004
Newsletter Deadlines 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: August newsletter July 30 September newsletter September 3 October newsletter October 1 November newsletter October 29 December newsletter December 3 Information may be emailed to rmonroe@richmond.com
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040


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