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July 2007
Bernard Fisher, President              Rob Monroe, Editor       
7300 Ann Cabell Lane                   2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Mechanicsville, VA 23111               Richmond, VA 23228-3040      

July 2007 PROGRAM Kevin M. Levin "The Battle of the Crater in History and Memory" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 10, 2007, 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. The July 30, 1864 Battle of the Crater is the most famous episode during the ten-month Petersburg Campaign and one of the most celebrated incidents of the entire war. The standard narrative of the Confederate side of the battle emphasizes the pivotal role of Maj. Gen. William Mahone's division in stemming the Federal tide. Mahone's success at the Crater did not, however, shield him from public attacks owing to his foray into Virginia politics in the 1880s. Interpretations of the Battle of the Crater, our July speaker asserts, were intertwined with postwar Virginia politics, the contentious issue of race, and the drive towards national reunion. His program examines the ways postwar Southerners interpreted and reinterpreted the Battle of the Crater and Mahone's role in it. Kevin Levin has been Instructor of History at St. Anne's - Belfield School in Charlottesville since 2000. He earned an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Maryland and a second M.A. in history from the University of Richmond. Web-savvy RCWRT members know him from his thought-provoking and highly-regarded "Civil War Memory" blog. Others will recognize him as the recipient of the Virginia Historical Society's 2005 M.E. Rachal Prize given to the outstanding article published in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. The subject of that article is the subject of his talk and of a forthcoming book. He is also editing for publication the letters of Capt. John C. Winsmith, 1st South Carolina Infantry. He has shared his meditations and insights about memory and about the philosophy and art of history not only through his blog, but also in many public talks and papers presented at history and education conferences, and in scholarly and popular articles.
Museum of the Confederacy Reports Profit for 2006-07 Strong giving by supporters of the Museum of the Confederacy will allow the institution to report an operating profit for its 2006-07 fiscal year for the first time since the early 1990's. Donors have given an unprecedented high of over one million dollars and more than 1,100 new memberships have been added in the past year. Budget cutbacks last summer forced museum officials to close public operations one day a week and take other cost saving measures. "Our supporters heard the cry and rallied," stated museum President and CEO, Waite Rawls. "They recognize the Civil War as the pivotal point in American history and the importance of our institution to the study of the Confederate period. Issues our society faces today are founded in the conflicts that faced our ancestors during and after the Civil War." Rawls added, "We have not won our financial battle but we have rounded the corner. Continued stewardship will allow this museum to reach the level of excellence it is capable of achieving." In response to the vast public support, the museum will again be open seven days a week in 2007-08. Donations also allow for reinstating the fourth issue of the magazine for museum members and the annual journal which highlights the museum's collections. The White House of the Confederacy will remain closed in January and February 2008 due to interior restoration. During this year's session, the Virginia General Assembly designated $400,000 in its 2007-'08 budget for the museum. This grant should provide positive results in the coming year. Though donor and state support of the museum is at an all-time high, visitation has continued to decline and will be at the lowest point this year since before the restoration and reopening of the White House in 1988. The funds from the General Assembly will be used toward operational costs, as museum officials continue planning for the relocation of the museum's extensive collections for the fulfillment of the mission to display and preserve the history of the Confederacy.
The Museum of the Confederacy is bringing history to life this summer and fall in a walking tour titled "Jefferson Davis's Richmond." The next tours are scheduled for Saturday, July 14 and Tuesday, August 14 (the date for RCWRT's August meeting) at noon. These hour-long tours will enable you to walk in the shoes of the embattled leader of the Confederacy and see Richmond as you've never seen it before. The program includes various anecdotes about Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederacy, and stories of life in Richmond during the Civil War. Highlights of the tour include Capitol Square, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Davis's executive office building and the sites of the homes of Alexander Stephens, Mary Chesnut, Matthew Maury and more. Space for these tours is limited and reservations are required. Please contact Dean Knight at (804) 649-1861 ext. 37 or to reserve a spot.
Richmond National Battlefield Park Hosts Events at Malvern Hill On Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8, Richmond National Battlefield Park will present "Fury at Malvern Hill," a living history encampment on the battlefield. Volunteers portraying Berdan's Sharpshooters will perform skirmish drills and rifle-firing demonstrations comparing the Sharps breech-loading rifle to the typical muzzle-loading rifle of the time period. They will also discuss how Sharpshooters were recruited and their role in the Battle of Malvern Hill as skirmishers sent forward to harass the Confederate infantry and silence their artillery. In addition, volunteers representing Battery A of the 2nd U.S. Artillery will perform cannon-firing demonstrations. The 2nd U.S. Artillery comprised a section of the main Union line in the July 1, 1862 fight. Demonstrations begin at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Saturday and 11am and 1pm on Sunday. Park historians will present guided walking tours of the Malvern Hill battlefield following each demonstration. Program hours are Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from 10-3.
Events in Petersburg Will Highlight Citizens and Victorian Art On Saturday, July 21 the Petersburg National Battlefield will give visitors the opportunity to see how civilians dealt with life in a city under siege. "Where Do You Go When the Shells Shriek?" is a unique tour that will allow visitors to see some of the places where citizens hid from the path of deadly mortar shells fired by Union troops. This free one-hour walking tour will begin at 11am, 1pm and 3pm at the City of Petersburg's Visitors Center. Later that evening, the Petersburg National Battlefield will sponsor a tour of Victorian Cemetery Art at the Blandford Church Cemetery. Some of the most interesting and beautiful grave markers at Blandford date from the Victorian period (1837-1901). Soaring obelisks, angels and flowers were all popular ways for people from the era to express themselves, and a great deal of symbolism lies behind every marker. This free walking tour will explore some of the most popular symbolism of the time as it was reflected in cemetery art. The program begins at 7:00 at the Blandford Church reception center. On Saturday, August 11, Petersburg National Battlefield will give visitors a unique opportunity to interact with the people of Civil War Petersburg. Reenactors portraying Petersburg citizens of the Civil War era will gather in the Old Courthouse to discuss how the siege has affected them personally and how they plan to put their lives back together. Spectators will be encouraged to question these "citizens" to discover the kinds of hardships they had to endure during and after the siege. This event is also free and begins at 2:00.
Pamplin Park Offers History Camp for Kids This summer Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier will combine learning, camaraderie and fun at its History Day Camps for boys and girls ages 8-13. Campers are mustered into military service and re-enact the life of a Civil War soldier in camp, on the march, on the battlefield, and at home on furlough. The newly enlisted soldiers drill with wooden rifles, participate in cannon role-play, help prepare and aim a mortar, and conduct a full-scale military exercise. Campers learn soldier skills, like map reading, sending messages with signal flags and Civil War survival techniques. Sessions will include crafts, such as making a rifle cartridge, a soldier's journal, and a tin-punched wall hanging. Activities also include cultivating and planting a cornfield using 19th-century tools and methods. All activities take place on the campus of Pamplin Historical Park. History Day Camp costs $100 for the three-day sessions and $75 for the two-day sessions. The payment covers registration, craft materials, a 2007 History Day Camp tee shirt, Union or Confederate kepi (hat), harmonica, haversack, enlistment and discharge papers, and snacks. For more information or to register a child, visit or contact Carol Wade at 1-877-PAMPLIN or
CWPT Honors Jack Ackerly The Civil War Preservation Trust recently bestowed its highest honor, the Edwin C. Bearrs Lifetime Achievement Award, on the RCWRT's own Jack Ackerly. Having been involved in the preservation movement for more than two decades, Jack was one of the founders of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, the predecessor to the CWPT. Jack is vice president of the Lee-Jackson Foundation of Virginia and was instrumental in orchestrating the CWPT's recent deal to save 422 acres at the McDowell Battlefield in Highland County. Congratulations on this well-deserved award, Jack!
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2007
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Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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©R.C.W.R.T. 2007