Brag Bowling, President Rob Monroe, Editor
3019 Kensington Ave 2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23221 Richmond, VA 23228-3040
October 2003 PROGRAM
Dr. Lawrence L. Hewitt
"The Confederacy's Best Chance for Victory:
Robert E. Lee and the Battle of Annihilation"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 14, 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.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Lawrence Lee Hewitt
received his B.A. from the University of Kentucky. After
attending graduate school there, where he studied under
Charles P. Roland, Hewitt transferred to Louisiana State
University. Following the death of T. Harry Williams, he
completed his dissertation under William J. Cooper, Jr.,
and received his Ph.D. in 1984.
Hewitt was the manager of the Port Hudson Historic Site
(1978-1982) and the Camp Moore Confederate Cemetery and
Museum (1982-1986); in 1985 he joined the faculty of
Southeastern Louisiana University. He served in a variety
of capacities in the Baton Rouge Civil War Round Table,
including that of president. He attained the rank of full
professor before resigning in 1996 to marry a native and
resident of Chicago.
Hewitt's presentation consists of a slide show dealing with
the book on which he currently is working. It consists of
three parts: (1) The historiograpy of "The Lost Cause" since
1865-focuses on the arguments previously presented regarding
why the South lost, or even if the Confederacy ever had a
chance to survive, much less win the war; (2) Lee, Davis and
Confederate Strategy, 1861-1863-argues that Lee and Davis
thought the Confederacy could win and describes how they
determined to achieve that goal; and (3) Lee at
Gettysburg-argues that the four Confederates who contributed
most to Lee's defeat at the battle did not include Stuart,
Ewell, or Longstreet.
Though some of the second part agrees with the writings of
Joseph Harsh and much of part three was recently described
by Scott Bowden and Bill Ward, the overall argument, which
reflects more than forty years of study of the Lee and his
army by the speaker, runs counter to the current trends of
Review of the September Program
Dr. Stephen Davis spoke on the subject "Atlanta Will Fall:
Sherman, Joe Johnston, and the Yankee Heavy Battalions." His
focus was on which Confederate general, Joseph E. Johnston
or John Bell Hood, deserves the blame for the fall of
Atlanta. From the start, Davis made it clear that he faults
Johnston, who commanded the Army of Tennessee from early May
until mid-July 1864. Hood did his best under bad
circumstances. Not until the early 1970s did historians
like Thomas Connelly begin taking a critical look at
Johnston's leadership. Richard McMurry's biography of Hood
presented a sympathetic view of that general's activities in
the campaign. Steven Woodworth, in Davis and His Generals,
said that Jefferson Davis should have fired Johnston earlier
than he did.
Johnston had held command of the army since December 1863.
Davis and presidential advisor, General Braxton Bragg,
hounded Johnston about how he planned to drive Sherman's
forces from north Georgia. Nevertheless, Johnston failed to
draw up such a plan. Once the Union campaign began,
Johnston failed to reconnoiter the ground and left Snake
Creek Gap wide open. As an engineer, this was a terrible
error. Sherman seemed to know the terrain better than his
opponent. The Confederate commander had a morbid fear of
being flanked. He had his engineers preparing positions in
the rear, and the soldiers in the army were becoming
Steve Davis looked at obscure Confederate newspapers for
information about how the soldiers and the public viewed the
campaign. He found an article written in early May 1864 in
which the soldier (Henry Watterson) predicted "Atlanta will
fall." This shows the growing lack of confidence in
As the Confederate army drew closer to Atlanta, President
Davis began asking about Hood as a replacement for Johnston.
There was a cabinet meeting in which there was a unanimous
vote for that general's removal. How many men were present
is unclear. Davis asked them who would be named to command
the army. He received more information from Bragg about the
situation in Georgia than he had gotten from Johnston. Still
Davis hesitated to make the critical decision; he was giving
Johnston one last chance.
Once he assumed command, what was Hood expected to do? Davis
clearly wished him to strike "a manly blow." Hood hoped to
emulate Robert E. Lee's and Stonewall Jackson's flanking
attacks. On all three occasions when he attacked the
Federals, Hood planned to hit the enemy's flanks. According
to Steve Davis, the assault east of Atlanta on July 22 was
worthy of Jackson, though it fell short of its goal.
Hood tried sending his cavalry after Sherman's
communications. Johnston had been afraid to do so and had
begged for cavalry forces to be sent from other theaters.
The raid had no strategic effect, but at least Hood had made
the effort. By mid-August, Hood had only one railroad still
operating. Sherman sent troops to cut this last link to the
city. Steve Davis argued that Jonesboro was not a critical
battle, as some historians have written. The last railroad
had already been cut by the Federals. Hood had done
everything he could to save Atlanta. He simply had
inherited an untenable situation.
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil
War Soldier will hold its seventh annual symposium on
October 18 and 19. "Corps Commanders of the Army of
Northern Virginia" will feature Frank O'Reilly, Gordon Rhea,
Jeffrey Wert and other nationally respected speakers, as
well as a group tour. Reservations are required and may be
made on the park's website, www.pamplinpark.org or by
calling toll-free 1-877-PAMPLIN.
The annual reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek will be
held October 18 and 19. The Cedar Creek Battlefield
Foundation will host the event on the actual Frederick
County battlefield. For more information call
1-888-628-1864 or log on to www.cedarcreekbattlefield.org
Campbell to Step Down as Executive Director
of Museum of the Confederacy
The Board of Trustees of The Confederate Memorial Literary
Society has announced the upcoming retirement of Col. J. A.
Barton Campbell, executive director of The Museum and White
House of the Confederacy. Campbell, who left the Board of
Trustees to head the museum in 2002, will be stepping down
after his replacement has been appointed, probably in early
Board Chairman J.E.B. Stuart IV said of Campbell's
decision: "Although the Board and museum staff are extremely
sad at the prospect of Col. Campbell's departure, the
reality is that in 2002 the Board requested that he help out
for a specific short-term mission, which he has fulfilled."
Campbell, who had already retired from careers in the
military and corporate sectors when the board appointed him
executive director, always projected a finite term in the
position. He will continue his service to the museum as a
volunteer and will return to the Board of Trustees next
"In addition to his outstanding leadership in helping to
strengthen our financial position, Campbell's unbridled
enthusiasm for the museum has helped bolster the confidence
of long-time supporters," Stuart said. "He has also brought
many new fans and new members to the museum, so our future
looks very bright."
The Board of Trustees is conducting a national search of
museum executives to fill the executive director role.
In other Museum news, a massive horse chestnut tree in the
garden of the White House of the Confederacy fell victim to
Hurricane Isabel. The tree was probably planted by Dr. John
Brockenbrough, who in 1818-19 created the garden and built
the Court End mansion which five decades later would serve
as The White House of the Confederacy. The fallen tree was
the last of the three or more historic chestnut trees that
once shaded the garden. Only an oak tree remains from the
original early 19th-century garden.
The week the storm hit, The Museum and White House of the
Confederacy was in the process of documenting the horse
chestnut for nomination in The National Registry of Historic
Trees. Now it simply awaits sectioning and disposal.
Anxious to retain some connection with the chestnut tree,
the museum staff is entertaining suggestions about possible
commemorative products that may be made from the tree's
wood. Anyone interested in learning about the final
disposition may inquire of the museum in mid-October.
Annual Holiday Dinner
The Richmond Civil War Round Table's annual holiday dinner
will be held on Tuesday, November 11, at the Willow Oaks
Country Club. Our speaker will be Robert K. Krick, and his
topic will be "The Confederate Pattons." The cost per person
The meeting schedule will be as follows:
6:00-7:00 p.m. - Cash Bar
7:00-7:45 p.m. - Dinner
7:45 p.m. - Meeting begins
8:00 p.m. - Speaker
All members are urged to attend this Holiday Dinner. Please
fill out the form below, clip it out, and send it to Art
Bergeron, 3901 Paces Ferry Road, Chester, VA 23831-1239.
Make all checks payable to the Richmond Civil War Round
Table. Let any interested friends know about the meeting
and tell them that they are welcome to attend. If you have
special dietary needs or prefer a vegetarian meal, please
indicate this on your form.
Richmond Civil War Round Table
Annual Holiday Dinner Reservation Form
Number of persons attending _____________
Amount of check $ _______________
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:
November newsletter, October 24
December newsletter, November 21
Information may be emailed to email@example.com
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2003
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Rob Monroe, Editor
2416 Edenbrook Dr.
Richmond, VA 23228-3040