First Vice President: Rob Monroe, Editor
Richard Forrester 2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Second Vice President: Richmond, VA 23228-3040
Shep Parsons firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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 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
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.
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 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
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
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
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Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Rob Monroe, Editor
2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23228-3040