R.Danny Witt, President Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
5500 Ashton Park Way 3901 Paces Ferry Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059 Chester, VA 23831-1239
November 2000 PROGRAM
Craig L. Symonds
"Franklin Buchanan at the Battle of Hampton Roads"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 14, 2000
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
Enter basement door from Boulevard side.
Craig L. Symonds is professor of history at the United
States Naval Academy, where he has taught naval history and
Civil War history since 1976. He earned his B. A. degree
from U.C.L.A. and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the
University of Florida. Symonds taught Strategy and Policy
at the U. S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island,
both as an officer (1972-1974) and a civilian professor
(1974-1975). In 1994-1995, he was visiting professor at the
Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England. Symonds
is the author of eight books including Joseph E. Johnston,
A Civil War Biography (1992); Stonewall of the West: Patrick
Cleburne and the Civil War (1997); and Confederate Admiral:
The Life and Wars of Franklin Buchanan (1999). He has
authored four historical atlases and edited seven books. His
articles and book reviews have appeared in a score of
journals. He is a two-time winner of the John Lyman Book
Award (1995 and 1999), was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize
in 1993, and was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize
(1993 and 1997).
Franklin Buchanan was a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and
had a distinguished career in the United States navy prior
to the Civil War. He was the first superintendent of the U.
S. Naval Academy and received promotion to the rank of
captain in 1855. When the Civil War began, Buchanan
attempted to maintain a neutral stance, but in August 1861,
he went to Richmond to offer his services to the
Confederacy. Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory
commissioned Buchanan as a captain. He served as chief of
the Office of Orders and Details in the Navy Department. On
February 24, 1862, Buchanan received appointment as flag
officer in command of the naval defenses on the James River.
In this capacity, he assumed command of the new ironclad
Virginia at Gosport Navy Yard. Symonds will discuss
Buchanan's role in the famous March 8, 1862, battle at
Hampton Roads. There the Virginia sank two Union frigates,
and Buchanan was wounded late in the fight.
Review of the October Program
In "Lee's Endangered Left," Dr. Richard R. Duncan
presented a summary of the first two parts of the 1864
Shenandoah Valley Campaign in May and June. He pointed out
that most people are aware of only the final two
phases-Jubal Early's march down the Valley toward
Washington, D. C., and Philip Sheridan's campaign that
resulted in the destruction of Early's forces. Had Union
forces succeeded in the two initial parts, the war might
have been shortened by several months.
President Abraham Lincoln was interested in the Shenandoah
Valley because he wanted to see the backbone of the
Confederacy broken. The railroad that ran into Virginia
from eastern Tennessee brought supplies to Robert E. Lee's
army, salt and lead mines in southwestern Virginia provided
needed war items, and the Valley itself was the bread basket
for the Army of Northern Virginia. In conjunction with
other operations by Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman,
Benjamin F. Butler, and Nathaniel P. Banks, Federal troops
would strike at the vital Shenandoah Valley. This effort
would come under the command of Major General Franz Sigel.
Union strategy called for a pincher movement. Brigadier
General George Crook's infantry force would attempt to
destroy the Virginia &Tennessee Railroad at New River
Bridge. At the same time, Brigadier General William W.
Averell would lead some 2,000 cavalrymen toward Saltville
and Wytheville to strike at the lead and salt mines. Then
the two forces would combine and march toward Staunton,
where the Federals would cut the Virginia Central Railroad.
Sigel would march southward into the Shenandoah from
Martinsburg with another army of some 9,000 men.
This first phase of the 1864 Valley Campaign experienced
only partial success. Crook defeated the Confederates at
Cloyd's Mountain and destroyed the New River Bridge.
Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Jenkins was mortally
wounded at Cloyd's Mountain, and John McCausland took over
his command. Averell found himself confronted by
Confederates under John Hunt Morgan and was defeated in an
engagement at Wytheville. Sigel's army marched slowly up
the Valley, and he allowed his command to become spread out
and separated. In the Battle of New Market, Major General
John C. Breckinridge defeated Sigel and drove his army back
down the Valley.
Major General David Hunter replaced Sigel, reorganized the
Army of the Shenandoah, and advanced again in late May. He
moved cautiously, trying to protect his supply lines. Then,
when he reached New Market, he cut himself off from those
lines and decided to have his army live off the land.
Breckinridge had left the Valley to rejoin Lee's army, and
Hunter found himself confronted only by cavalry forces
commanded by William E. "Grumble" Jones and John D.
Imboden. Hunter defeated them on June 5 in the Battle of
Piedmont. Jones was killed while trying to rally his men.
Rather than following up on this victory by crossing the
mountains and moving against Charlottesville, Hunter decided
to let his men go on an orgy of destruction, including the
burning of the Virginia Military Institute. The Federals
finally began marching toward Lynchburg, but McCausland's
Confederate cavalrymen delayed their advance. By the time
they reached the town, they found it defended by Jubal Early
and the Second Corps of Lee's army. Hunter retreated, with
Early in pursuit. Old Jube's next move would be to cross
the Potomac River and pay a visit on Washington, D. C.
50th Anniversary Project
To celebrate the Richmond Civil War Roundtable's anniversary
(early in 2001), we are reprinting the memoirs of prominent
Richmond preservationist and Roundtable member J. Ambler
Johnston. Late in his life, Mr. Johnston reminisced about
the early history of the area battlefields and the
personalities associated with Civil War Richmond in the
early 20th century. The book includes a short account by
longtime Roundtable member Bill Mallory about the formation
of our group in 1951. Our reprint of this volume will
include an index, a listing of the past presidents, and an
expanded section chronicling all of our previous speakers
and their subjects. Mr. Johnston's original driving tour
of the area battlefields has been updated by Sam Craghead to
reflect modern alterations to the route, and that will be in
an appendix as well. The cost to members will be $17.00
plus shipping. No shipping charges will be added if members
pick up the book themselves. It is anticipated that Echoes
of 1861-1961 will be available shortly after the first of
Former Member Dies. The Round Table has lost another past
president, Mr. Otto Holcombe. Our sympathies go out to his
family and friends.
Christmas Program. Pamplin Historical Park & The National
Museum of the Civil War Soldier, near Petersburg, will hold
a special Christmas program on Sunday, December 3, 2000. A
highlight of the program will be a talk on "The Generalship
of Grant and Lee at Petersburg" by Dr. Richard J. Sommers
at 1 p.m. Sommers is chief historian and archivist at the
United States Army Military History Institute at Carlisle
Barracks, Pennsylvania, and is the author of Richmond
Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg (1981). For more
information, call Pamplin Historical Park at 861-2408.
J. E. B. Stuart SCV Camp Fall Field Trip. This trip will
be held on November 11, 2000. The group will depart at 6:30
a. m. from the Lowe's parking lot at Parham Road and
Brooke Road and will return by 6:00 p. m. The cost per
person is $20.00. Please bring a lunch and drink. This
tour will visit sites of Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Shenandoah
Valley Campaign, including First Winchester, Port Republic,
Cross Keys, Turner Ashby's wounding site, and Banks' Fort.
Guides will be Rich Kleese and John Heatwole. To register
or for more information, contact Bragg Bowling at
804-359-0382 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Richmond Civil War Round Table in Cyberspace. The Round
Table's Web site has been available for several months. It
includes the monthly newsletter, CW book reports,
photographs of previous meetings, and a list of all
forthcoming speakers. The NEW URL or Web address is:
*Important Notice* December Meeting
The December meeting will be December 12, 2000, at the
Holiday Inn-Crossroads, 2000 Staples Mill Road. Social hour
will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner following at 7 p.m. The
speaker is Ed Bearss who will speak on "The Raising of the
Cairo," which will include information about the history of
the Union ironclad. The cost for this program is $25.50 per
person. Seating is limited, so please get your reservations
Send your name, address, and phone number, along with the
number of persons for whom you are making reservations to
Sam Craghead. Make your check out to the Richmond Civil War
4361F Lakefield Mews
Richmond, VA 23231
PLEASE NOTE: This is a new address for Sam.
If you have any questions, call Sam at 222-0503.
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
3901 Paces Ferry Road
Chester, VA 23831-1239