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January 2006
Richard Forrester, President           Rob Monroe, Editor       
8008 Spottswood Road                   2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Richmond, VA 23229                     Richmond, VA 23228-3040          

January 2006 PROGRAM Mr. Roger Mudd 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 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. Roger Mudd was born in Washington, D.C. in 1928 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945, serving with the 2nd Armored Division. He graduated from Washington & Lee University in 1950 and from the University of North Carolina in 1953 with a master's degree in history. Between 1961 to 1992, Mudd was a Washington correspondent for CBS News, NBC News and the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour on PBS. He won the George Foster Peabody award for "The Selling of the Pentagon" in 1970 and for "Teddy" in 1979 and the Barone Award for Distinguished Washington Reporting in 1990. Between 1992 and 1996, he was a visiting professor of politics and the press at Princeton University and at Washington & Lee University. Mudd was the editor of Great Minds of History, interviews with five American historians, published in 1999. He was the documentary host and correspondent for The History Channel from 1995 until he retired in 2004. Mudd is on the board of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and the National Portrait Gallery, the advisory boards of the Eudora Welty Foundation and the Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond and is currently the chairman of the advisory board to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. He is married to the former E.J. Spears of Richmond. They have four children, 11 grandchildren and have lived in McLean for 33 years. On very short notice, Mr. Mudd has kindly agreed to be our January speaker. He will be talking to the Round Table not as a Civil War scholar, but rather someone with a lifelong love of history. He will comment on his work with The History Channel and his relative, Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set John Wilkes Booth's broken leg after Lincoln's assassination.
Summary of November Meeting A Dinwiddie County native now working at the Petersburg National Battlefield, James Blankenship joked that he never thought he'd grow up to work at Yankee headquarters. After spending only a day researching at the National Archives, Blankenship knew he had enough information to write a book on the Union railroad at City Point. His forthcoming book, "As Smooth as a Greased Wheel," is the product of this research. At the Round Table's December meeting, Blankenship gave RCWRT members an inside look at the remarkable Union military railroad at City Point from the summer of 1864 to the spring of 1865. The Siege of Petersburg, Blankenship noted, took place over 292 days and involved over 100 military actions. It is ironic to think that the Union railroad at City Point was built to support Grant's strategy to destroy Confederate railroads in Petersburg. By 1864 there was already a railroad in City Point but it was not in use. Upriver in Petersburg, five railroads served the town but none of them were linked due to the fierce competition between rival companies. In addition, Petersburg residents did not want to see the railroads linked, said Blankenship, for fear that the trains would continue to ride through town without stopping. The Union army spent the first two weeks of the siege opening the railroad between Petersburg and the supply base on the river at City Point. For nine months, City Point became one of the busiest ports in the world. Even so, the area looked like a shanty town. Nothing was built to be permanent, Blankenship noted. Many of the buildings were prefab structures made of wood that was cut in Alexandria and transported by boat to City Point. Railroad carpenters were paid better than men at the front but had little free time to spend their earnings. Beginning June 18, 1864, these railroad men worked every day until they were finally given a day off in November. It is interesting to note that 833 men were employed in constructing the railroad while only 40 worked on the trains themselves. There were additional problems acquiring and transporting locomotives from the northern states. Captains of steam ships were reluctant to transport train engines and complained that the weight of these "iron horses" made their boats unsteady. Once they finally arrived in Virginia, some of the locomotives were found to lack power. At times soldiers had to disembark from the train to help push engines uphill. Despite the need for supplies and ammunition for the soldiers, oats, hay and other feed for animals constituted a great percentage of the cargo hauled on the rails. As the number of sick and injured soldiers arose, the Union army found another use for the trains as empty boxcars were converted into rolling hospitals. It can truly be said that during the Siege of Petersburg victory rode the rails. At the beginning of our meeting, Troy Arnold's number was drawn and he became the lucky winner of the complete multi-volume set of Time-Life's Civil War book series donated by Joe Monroe. Round Table members also elected three members to the executive committee for 2006: Bobby Krick, Jack Ackerly and Dan Balfour. Outgoing president Dick Forrester gave an emotional farewell and thanked the Round Table for a "wonderful year."
Preservationists Win Victory Near Winchester Preservationists had an important victory to celebrate on December 28. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and The Shockey Companies announced that Shockey has donated to the Battlefields Foundation a conservation easement on a 48-acre parcel in Frederick County that played a role in the Second and Third Battles of Winchester. The protected property lies northeast of the city of Winchester in an area known as Stephenson's Depot and is bordered by Milburn Road and Old Charlestown Road. It is in the Milburn Road Historic District and the core area of the Second Winchester battlefield and the study area of the Third Winchester battlefield. During the Second Battle of Winchester (June 13-15, 1863), Confederate artillery on the hill at the center of the property bombarded Union troops as they fled north along the Valley Pike (modern-day US Route 11) and Milburn Road. Union attempts to scale the hill and dislodge the southerners were unsuccessful. Confederates captured 4,000 Federal prisoners in this action and secured an undisputed passage toward Pennsylvania and ultimately the Battle of Gettysburg. Third Winchester (September 19, 1864) -- a battle that engaged more than 55,000 troops on both sides -- ended in one of the largest mounted charges of the Civil War. Union cavalry had crossed Opequon Creek north of Berryville Pike (modern-day Virginia Route 7) and engaged the Confederates south of Stephenson's Depot between the Valley Pike and Milburn Road, adjacent the property. They then descended on Confederate troops north and east of Winchester, driving them from the city. The Federal victory contributed to the reelection of Abraham Lincoln six weeks later. Together with the other eight battlefields of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, Second and Third Winchester are likely to meet the standards required for National Historic Landmark status, the highest recognition granted by the Federal government for historic value. The Civil War Sites Advisory Commission identified the sites of 10,500 armed conflicts throughout the nation that occurred during the Civil War. Of these, Third Winchester was one of only 45 ranked "A" because it had "a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war." Second Winchester was one of 104 sites ranked "B" because it had "a decisive influence on a campaign." Battlefields Foundation Executive Director Howard Kittell noted the community's long-held interest in protecting this battlefield area. "For many years, residents in the Winchester-Frederick County area have voiced their desire to see this landscape preserved. This easement represents an important step in accomplishing the community's goal. We have ensured that future generations of travelers along historic Milburn Road will be able to experience the stories of these battles the way that we can today. We are grateful to Don Shockey for his commitment to the community." "This effort will preserve this open space for the community of Stephenson," said Shockey. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will serve as a co-holder of the easement, ensuring that the protection of the property will last into perpetuity.
Class Will Examine Peninsula Campaign The Civil War came close to ending in the summer of 1862. Throughout the months of April and May, General George McClellan's Army of the Potomac had pushed up the Peninsula of Virginia from Fortress Monroe to the outskirts of Richmond. By June, many Union soldiers reported that they could hear church bells ringing in the city. But the South was not yet defeated and this threat to Richmond was turned back by the new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, General Robert E. Lee, in a set of hard-fought battles. Next month the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies will offer a non-credit course, "Civil War: The Peninsula Campaign." Classes will look at the soldiers who fought in 1862 and will examine developments in the fascinating wartime capital of the Confederacy, Richmond. The four class sessions will use a variety of materials furnished by the instructor, retired Brigadier General Jack Mountcastle, the U.S. Army's former Chief of Military History. A Saturday, March 4th bus trip from Ft. Monroe to the scene of the Seven Days Battles will be led by the instructor. The class will run for four weeks in February, meeting each Monday night from 7-9pm. The course will focus on those soldiers who were learning their trade as commanders and would rise to prominence in subsequent campaigns. The cost of the non-credit course is $169. For more information contact the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies at 289-8133 or visit their website at Click on Continuing Studies and then select the Think Again noncredit course catalog's section on Personal Enrichment History Courses.
Museum Looks at Love During the Civil War The mere mention of the American Civil War automatically brings to mind images of destruction, battles, death, and dying. Yet throughout those years of strife, the thought of the fairer sex sustained many a soldier during his bleakest hour. On Saturday, February 11, the Museum of the Confederacy will present "Hearts at War." Through artifacts, documents, and stories this two-hour program for adults will look at Valentine traditions and courtship during the Civil War. Light refreshments will follow. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required. Cost for members is $8, non-members $10. For more information or registration, contact Vickie Yates at or 649-1861 extension 20.
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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