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February 2000
R.Danny Witt, President               John M.Coski, editor
5500 Ashton Park Way                      1201 E.Clay St.
Glen Allen, VA 23059                   Richmond, VA 23219



8:00 p.m., Tuesdav, February, 8, 2000
at the Boulevard United Methodist Church
321 N. Boulevard (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
Enter basement door from Boulevard side.

Mark Ragan is a former hard-hat diver who owns and  operates
his  own  two-man  submarine.   He was one of the divers who
located the H.  L.  Hunley, and is presently  working  raise
that  famous  boat.  His field work and documentary research
to  led  to  his  first  book,   The   Hunley:   Submarines,
Sacrifices, and Success in the Civil War, published in 1995.

Mr.   Ragan's  research  on  the  Hunley,  kept  turning  up
evidence of other, earlier,  submarine  experiments  by  the
Southern  and  Northern  navies.  He pursued these leads and
wrote a book that demonstrates beyond doubt  the  extent  of
submarine  research  and  development  during  the war.  His
second book, Union and Confederate Submarine Warfare in  the
Civil War, was published by Savas Publishers in 1999.

Review of January Program By Sam Craghead

Bookshelves   in   the   American   Civil  War  section  are
overflowing with works  on  the  lives  and  experiences  of
soldiers  of  that  conflict.  However, this is not the case
with accounts by or of Civil  War  sailors  Bob  Schneller's
Under  The  Blue  Pennant  -  the  memoir  of Ensign John W.
Grattan, U.S.N.  - helps to correct this disparity.

After service with the Forty-seventh  Regiment  of  the  New
York State National Guard, John Grattan enlisted in the U.S.
Navy as an acting ensign.  From May 1862, until the first of
September  1862,  Grattan  was clerk to the fleet captain of
the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.  On 17 November,  he
was  assigned  as clerk to Real Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee,
the  squadron  commander.   In   this   post   Grattan   was
responsible for maintaining all of the correspondence of the
admiral, as well as all of the records of the squadron  -  a
duty which placed him in a unique position to write a memoir
with a great deal of insight into the events he recounted.

John Grattan was a personal friend and great admirer of  the
famous Lt.  William Barker Cushing, whose exploits the Round
Table had the  pleasure  of  hearing  Dr.   Chris  Fonvielle
recount at the meeting in November.

In his memoir, Grattan told of the attack of the Confederate
torpedo boat "Squib" upon  the  "Minnesota,"  Admiral  Lee's
flag  ship,  when  she was anchored in the waters of Hampton
Roads, at two O'clock in the morning on the ninth of  April,
1864:  "In  a second the frigate was thrown over on her beam
ends, the main yard arms touching the  water.   Hundreds  of
seamen  were thrown violently out of their hammocks; ladders
and gratings came crashing down the hatchways; capstan bars,
sponges,  rammers,  shot,  and  shell were displaced and set
rolling about the decks.  Amid the  greatest  confusion  and
excitement  the  drums  beat  to  quarters; but owing to the
absence of ladders and the extinguishing of  all  lights  by
the shock, the officers and crew could not get on deck." The
torpedo boat was able to make its escape.

Grattan was present during both battles for Fort  Fisher  in
December  1864 and January 1865.  Blaming the failure of the
first attack on General Benjamin Butler, of whom he  was  no
admirer,  he told of taking blockade runners into a trap set
after the fort was captured on the second attempt.

There were light moments, even in war,  and  Ensign  Grattan
described  the  homespun activities of the officers and men,
when they were not on  duty.   Grattan  was  with  President
Abraham  Lincoln  in  Richmond in April 1865 when he visited
the Confederate White House  and  sat  in  Jefferson  Davis'
office  easy  chair.   During this visit, Grattan recounted,
the officers partook of some strong  applejack  and  one  of
them  declared:  "no  wonder  the rebels fought so well when
they could get such stuff to drink.

Like his friend, W.  B.  Cushing, Grattan did not live  long
after  the  war.   He died on the 15th of November 188 1, in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Round Table's Golden Anniversary

The Richmond Civil War Round Table will  celebrate  its  its
fiftieth  anniversary  in  2001.   The  RCWRT board voted in
October to observe this anniversary by publishing a  special
edition of an old book that defines our organization and its

Echoes of 1861-1961 by J.  Ambler Johnston, a RCWRT  charter
member,  was  produced  in  a limited private edition of 175
copies in 1970.  The book features a tour  of  the  Richmond
battlefields   and   a   history  of  the  battles  and  the
battlefields, and  sketches  of  the  dignitaries  who  have
toured  them.   It  is  also  a  sketch  of Douglas Southall
Freeman and the process by  which  he  -  with  considerable
assistance  by Johnston - preserved and recorded the history
of the Richmond battlefields.

The 50th anniversary edition of Echoes will also  include  a
modem  tour  of  the  battlefield  markers  -  the so-called
"Freeman markers."

The RCWRT board will offer more details  about  the  numbers
and costs of Echoes as the project proceeds.

Last Call for 2000 Dues

Editor's note: this "last call" was supposed to  be  out  to
members before the February I  dues  deadline.   The  editor
apologizes  for the delay.  As a good (adoptive) Richmonder,
he blames the snow.

The dues amount varies according to these membership categories. Check box for appropriate category and send payment to: Sandra V. Parker P.O. Box 37052 Richmond, VA 23234 Do not send payment to treasurer or to Newsletter editor. ___ $25 for individual resident; ___ $35 family resident; ___ $10 non-resident; ___ $10 senior (age 65 and a RCWRT member for 1O+ years). Would you like to receive your membership card? ___ roster? ___ If you do not check the box, you will not receive the card or roster.
Announcements: Conference on Women & the Civil War. The annual conference will be held April 7,8, & 9 at Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia. For details and registration information, call (301) 293-2820 or e-mail R. E. Lee: The Exhibition. The largest exhibition on the life of Robert E. Lee is on display through the end of 2000 at The Museum of the Confederacy. Call (804) 649-1861 for details. Museum of the Confederacy
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©R.C.W.R.T. 2000