Richard Forrester, President Rob Monroe, Editor
8008 Spottswood Road 2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23229 Richmond, VA 23228-3040
August 2005 PROGRAM
Lt. Gen. Josiah Bunting, III
"Gen. Ulysses S. Grant"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, Sugust 9, 2005, at the
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
Please note: This month's meeting will be held in the sanctuary.
General Josiah Bunting is a 1963 graduate of Virginia
Military Institute where he became Regimental Commander and
First Captain of the Corps, was a member of the Honor Court
and captain of the swimming team. An English major, he
graduated third in his class and was awarded a Rhodes
Scholarship. After receiving a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford,
where he was President of the American Students Association,
he entered the United States Army in 1966. During six years
of service, he reached the rank of Major, with duty stations
at Fort Bragg, NC; Vietnam (Ninth Infantry Division); and
West Point, NY where he was an assistant professor of
history and social sciences at the United States Military
Academy. His military citations include the Bronze Star
with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam
Honor Medal - 2nd class, Presidential Unit Citation,
Parachute Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, and Ranger Tab.
Bunting spent a year at the U.S. Naval War College in
Newport, RI before being named President at Briarcliff
College (NY). He later became President of Hampden-Sydney
College, then headmaster of the Lawrenceville School (NJ).
He has been president of Phi Beta Kappa at William and Mary
and was appointed Superintendent of VMI in 1995. Early in
his tenure he was charged by the Institute's governing board
to implement the ruling of the United States Supreme Court,
to oversee preparations for the enrollment of female cadets.
He was promoted to Lieutenant General, in 2002. A
sought-after lecturer who holds honorary degrees from
several colleges, Gen. Bunting is a member of numerous
honor societies and fraternities and has been a trustee of
many educational institutions and entities.
Summary of July Meeting
At the July meeting of the Richmond Civil War Round Table,
Richard McMurry spoke to members on the oft-overlooked
importance of the war's Western Theater. It's easy --
particularly for those of us living in Virginia -- to focus
almost exclusively on the war in the East. "Expand your
horizons," urged McMurry. He challenged RCWRT members to
"undergo a paradigm shift" and "see things in a different
light." Looking at the war in Virginia can be misleading,
McMurry said. He countered with what he referred to as the
McMurry confessed to being a voracious reader. After
decades of pouring over the works of countless historians,
McMurry said he has "collected" 83 reasons for why the
Confederacy lost the war. Each is singularly true in and of
itself, McMurry noted, but none gives a full account for why
the South fell. The real reason the Confederacy lost the
war, McMurry asserted, was because it did not win enough
battles. The simplicity of the statement drew laughter
throughout the room and no one grinned more broadly than
While factors such as the Union blockade and the failure to
be officially recognized by England and France were great
impediments to the Confederacy, McMurry explained, it was
defeat on the battlefield alone that doomed the Southern
nation. You'd never know this by studying only the Virginia
paradigm, he said.
The Union won battle after battle in the West despite often
being outnumbered, noted McMurry, a direct result of the
decisions of poor Confederate commanders. With A.S.
Johnston's untimely death at Shiloh, Jefferson Davis lost
the only general in the Western Theater he would ever trust.
McMurry contended that the war's most decisive battle was
not fought on the fields of Gettysburg, but rather at
Champion Hill, Mississippi. This was the best chance the
rebels had at stopping Grant, McMurry explained. A more
competent Confederate general could have trapped the Union
commander and forced his surrender.
Still, the turning point of the war wasn't military, McMurry
asserted. At the outbreak of war, the state of Kentucky had
strong ties to both the North and South. The Bluegrass
State was the birthplace of both Lincoln and Davis. In
1861, Leonidas Polk was sent by Davis to oversee the
Confederate troops at Memphis until A.S. Johnston returned
from California. But before Johnston arrived, Gideon Pillow
convinced Polk to march on Columbus, Kentucky. The move was
a direct violation of the state's neutrality. Meanwhile
Lincoln used great political skill to keep Kentucky. McMurry
asserted that the Confederacy simply could not win the war
Across the state line in Cairo (pronounced "Kay-ro"),
Illinois, Sherman correctly predicted that whoever
controlled that junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi
rivers would win the war. While the Shenandoah Valley has
long been known as the "Breadbasket of the Confederacy,"
Western farms provided a vast food supply to the South.
Responding to a RCWRT member's question, McMurry
acknowledged that part of the reason the importance of the
West has been overlooked is that so few soldiers kept
diaries. One explanation for this is the fact that the
illiteracy rate was higher in the newer western states that
did not have the benefit of well-established school systems.
University of Richmond to
Offer Course on Civil War Cavalry
The University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies
will offer a course titled "Crossed Sabers - Civil War
Cavalry in Virginia." Classes meet from 7-9pm on four
consecutive Monday nights, beginning on October 3, 2005. The
course will discuss the extensive use of mounted soldiers by
both sides in many different types of units.
The Civil War in Virginia would see large cavalry divisions
made up of thousands of cavalrymen and light artillery to
small units of irregular forces mounted on swift horses who
served to gather information on the enemy or to attack his
weak points. This course explores the use of cavalry by
both the Union and the Confederacy, highlights the major
cavalry battles fought in Virginia between 1861 and 1865,
and brings to life some of the fascinating men who led the
forces in blue and gray. The instructor will publish a
suggested reading list prior to this course and will also
provide additional information as take-home material. On
Saturday, October 29, a bus field trip led by the instructor
will visit selected cavalry battlefields in Virginia.
This course is led by retired Brigadier General Jack
Mountcastle, the U.S. Army's former Chief of Military
History. Discussions will focus on those soldiers who truly
believed the lyrics of the popular Civil War song: "If you
want to have fun --- J'ine the Cavalry!"
Cost of the non-credit course is $159. For details call the
University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies at
289-8133 or visit their website, www.richmond.edu. Click on
"Continuing Studies" and then select the "Think Again"
noncredit course catalog's section on Personal Enrichment
Fall Field Trip Reminder
Response has been good so far for the Round Table's fall
field trip to Hampton Roads, but there's still room for
more. On Saturday, October 1, we will begin our tour at Lee
Hall in Newport News and visit several land sites in the
morning. After lunch at Fort Monroe, we board the Miss
Hampton II and explore the scene of the historic clash
between the CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor. Our guide
will be John V. Quarstein, Director of the Virginia War
Museum and author of "The Battle of the Ironclads." He is an
expert on the Civil War on the Virginia Peninsula and a
dynamic tour guide.
The bus departs at 8am from the James River Bus Terminal at
915 North Allen Avenue (located between Broad and Leigh
streets) and will return by 5pm. The cost is $35 per
person. Guests are welcome. Please bring your own lunch
and drink. Note that security measures at Fort Monroe
require that all visitors present a photo ID. If you have
questions, please contact Bernie Fisher at (804) 730-1785 or
via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make checks
payable to RCWRT and send along with the form below to:
7300 Ann Cabell Lane
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
2005 RCWRT Fall Field Trip
Date: ______________ Name: _________________________________________________
Phone Number: (_____) ______-________
Number of reserved seats: _____ x $35 = $ _______ total
(Make check payable to RCWRT)
New "Perpetual" Guidebook
Lists Richmond's Civil War Sites
A new guide to Civil War sites in Richmond has been
published. The 32-page large-format book lists dozens of
sites in the former Confederate Capital and locates them on
easy-to-use maps. "The Civil War Traveler Guide to
Richmond's Civil War Sites" is illustrated with period and
modern images. The book will be updated continuously on
www.civilwartraveler.com and thus will never go out of date.
Generous margins are provided for notes. Cost is $7.95; and
it is available at local bookstores and from
www.civilwartraveler.com/books. There is no charge for
media mail delivery if ordered from the website.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2005
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Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Rob Monroe, Editor
2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23228-3040