cguy.gif 01110008.jpg uguy.gif
January 2005
First Vice President:                   Rob Monroe, Editor       
Richard Forrester                     2416 Edenbrook Dr.     
Second Vice President:                  Richmond, VA 23228-3040  
Shep Parsons                   

January 2005 PROGRAM Mike Gorman, "Richmond Again Taken: Photographing Richmond, 1858-1865" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 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. Many of the most famous images of the fallen Capital of the Confederacy have never, until now, been placed in their proper historical context. This multimedia talk will examine some of the images taken of Richmond immediately following the evacuation of the Confederate Government using new research to locate and interpret the images. This talk will also share some important new discoveries and many extremely rare images. Mike Gorman is a Richmond-based historian who specializes in the City of Richmond during the Civil War. He is the creator and webmaster of Civil War Richmond (, an online research project that documents the various sites and personalities within Richmond during the war. It is his labor of love and consists of primary and a smattering of secondary accounts related to Richmond. This website generates over 300 hits per day, and has grown to the staggering size of 9,348 individual pages and over 1200 megabytes of information. He works for the National Park Service and is working on several books in his private time.
Summary of December Meeting
Craig  L  Symonds
At the December meeting of the Richmond Civil War Round Table, Craig L Symonds gave an enlightening talk on Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne. Symonds admitted being "personally a great admirer" of Cleburne. He is not alone in that opinion. In the past decades, Symonds noted, Cleburne has become to the South what Joshua L. Chamberlain is to the North. Unquestionably brave and heroic as a commander, Cleburne's visionary ideas have made him a popular figure with contemporary readers. A Protestant raised in County Cork, Ireland, Cleburne was well educated and begrudgingly served in the British army. In 1850, at the age of 21, he immigrated to America, eventually settling in Helena, Arkansas. When war broke out, Cleburne joined the Confederate army to defend his neighborhood against what he viewed as "the tyranny" of Northern rule. He rose quickly through the ranks, Symonds stated, partly due to the fact that his experience in the British army made him familiar with military manuals. It was soon evident that Cleburne was a remarkable combat leader and a brilliant commander. He received plaudits from the Confederate Congress for his actions in battle. To Cleburne, Symonds explained, "slavery was consequential," put forth by Republicans to justify their tyranny. Cleburne was also a realist. By 1863 he recognized that the war had become a numbers game and the South could not win a prolonged conflict. Slaves made up over one-third of the population of the Confederate States. The only realistic option for Southern independence, Cleburne concluded, was to enlist slaves and guarantee their freedom in a reasonable amount of time. "Slavery has become a handicap," Cleburne argued. He called for the organization of a "brigade of the most courageous" slaves and suggested arming and drilling as many as 300,000 bondsmen. He knew such a plan would probably end slavery in the South, but the action would be worthwhile if it ended the war. There were political advantages to be gained as well. English and French sympathy for the U.S. would end and the Republicans would be stripped of their justification for war. Several other leaders endorsed Cleburne's idea, though, as Symonds noted, many did so only out of loyalty to the respected general. Others lambasted the proposal, branding it "revolting to Southern honor" and "nothing less than treason." When the plan reached Joe Johnston, the Confederate commander knew the idea would be ill-received and ordered it not to be forwarded to Richmond. A rival of Cleburne disobeyed Johnston and sent the document anyway. At the Confederate capital, Jefferson Davis realized the proposal was - as Symonds described it - a political "tinder box" and repressed any talk on the subject. Cleburne was never again promoted. The following year, the 34-year-old commander died leading a glorious but foolish charge he knew was not wise. He was killed only 50 yards from the Union line at Franklin, Tennessee. "He gave his life for a cause he did not fully understand," said Symonds.
Lectures Will Offer Theological View of Civil War
Four lectures about "The Civil War as a Theological Crisis," will be held January 24-26 at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education on Brook Road. Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, Mark Noll, an authority on the interaction of Christianity and culture in the 18th and 19th centuries, will be the speaker. Noll will examine the Civil War as a turning point in Christian thought. How could readers of the same Bible come to such different conclusions resulting in the violence and destruction of civil war? There is no charge to attend the lectures: "The Nature of the Crisis," "The Special Problem of the Bible and Slavery," "The Crisis Observed from Outside the United States," and "The Meaning of the Crisis Today." Noll holds a Ph.D. in American religious history from Vanderbilt University and has served as an editor for Christianity Today. A prolific writer, some of Noll's books include: America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, and Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. Other notable guests, all graduates of Union-PSCE, will speak at various events during the lecture series. Theodore J. Wardlaw, president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, will preach at worship on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at 11 a.m. Donald W. Shriver, Jr., former president of Union Theological Seminary in New York, will speak at the luncheon on Tuesday. Pamela Mitchell-Legg, professor of Christian education at Union-PSCE's Charlotte campus, will speak at the dinner Tuesday evening. Reservations are required for meals. A special feature during the lectures will be a tour of the new American Civil War Center. The soon-to-be-completed center at the Tredegar gun foundry in downtown Richmond examines the Civil War from the distinct perspectives of African Americans, Northerners and Southerners. Participants in the lectures may choose to visit the facility Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. For information on the lectures, registration, and a complete schedule of events, visit the website at or call (804) 278-4228 or 1-800-229-2990 ext 228.
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, January 19 Robert E. Lee Birthday Celebration at his birthplace, Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County. Free admission and a lecture, "Lee's Inner Quest," at 2 p.m. Info:
Saturday, February 5 "Freedom Won," a special program on African-American soldiers and civilians at Endview Plantation in Newport News. Info: or 757-887-1862.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2005
Info Sought on Prison Civil War Round Table Jackson Sasser, a graduate student at William & Mary, is working on a history of the Prison Civil War Round Table, which met in the Virginia Penetentiary from 1962-1989. Our Round Table was instrumental in that group's founding and success. Mr. Sasser would be interested in any correspondence or records pertaining to the PCWRT -- most especially its early years -- and would like to talk or correspond with anyone who took a real interest in the work of that group. He can be reached at; or at 757-221-7695; or at P.O. Box 863, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187.
2005: Official Business and A Look Ahead At the December meeting of the Richmond Civil War Round Table, Bob Krick, Jack Ackerly and Dan Balfour were elected to the executive board for 2005. The new year promises to be another exciting one for RCWRT members. Speakers in the coming months include Dr. James I. "Bud" Robertson, Jr., Frank O'Reilly and Hunter Lesser. Membership dues for 2005 will be mailed to you in January. The ides of March - March 15 - will be the final deadline for 2005 dues. Why put it off until then? Pay your dues at the January 11 meeting, then sit back, relax and enjoy the excellent speakers coming to the Round Table this year.
Information may be emailed to or Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

Return to News Letters Index
Return to main page
©R.C.W.R.T. 2005