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February 2005
First Vice President:                   Rob Monroe, Editor       
Richard Forrester                     2416 Edenbrook Dr.     
Second Vice President:                  Richmond, VA 23228-3040  
Shep Parsons                   

February 2005 PROGRAM Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. "Why the Civil War Still Lives" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 10, 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. Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. is the Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of History at Virginia Tech. He teaches the largest Civil War history class in America, with an average of 250 students per semester. Dr. Robetson is the Executive Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. The Danville native earned a B.A. from Randolph-Macon College, an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Emory University and has three honorary degrees. Dr. Robertson has been the recipient of every major award given in the field of Civil War history. His award-winning books include Soldiers Blue and Gray, The Confederate Spirit, General A.P. Hill, Civil War!: America Becomes One Nation and the 950-page biography, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, which won an unprecedented eight national awards. A historical consultant for the film "Gods and Generals," Dr. Robertson hosts a weekly Civil War program aired on 11 public radio stations. On television, he appears regularly in Civil War programs on the History Channel, Arts & Entertainment network and C-Span. His latest books include Stonewall Jackson's Book of Maxims, and (with artist Mort Kunstler) Gods and Generals: The Companion Volume for the Movie. He is editor of the recently published Soldier of Southwestern Virginia: The Civil War Letters of Captain John Preston Sheffey. Dr. Robertson will speak on "Why the Civil War Still Lives" and the many ways the conflict still affects us today. Because of the anticipated large turnout for Dr. Robertson, the meeting may be moved from the usual basement location to the church's sanctuary upstairs.
Summary of January Meeting
Mike Gorman of the Richmond National Battlefield Park spoke to the Richmond Civil War Round Table at its January meeting. He impressed and entertained his audience with a presentation he called "Richmond Again Taken: Photographing Richmond, 1858-1865." He displayed and interpreted photos from his Civil War Richmond website, as well as rare images only recently acquired by the Park Service. These remarkable photographs were further enhanced by Mr. Gorman's great wit and humor. He began his presentation by reminding the audience that photographs of Civil War Richmond were not taken by journalists to document historic events. Instead, these images were taken with one objective in mind - to make money. The photographers livelihood was dependent upon them selling images. This knowledge is important in understanding how photographers chose their subjects. Gorman also gave RCWRT members a greater appreciation of what a time-consuming, physical process it was to take photographs in the 19th century. It took about ten minutes for photographers to set up for each image. After a picture was taken, the glass-plate negative had to be wrapped in black cloth to avoid exposure to outside light, then stored with great care so as not to break on the carriage or boat ride back to the photographer's gallery which might be hundreds of miles away. While acknowledging Mathew Brady, Gorman gave credit to under-appreciated photographers such as Alexander Gardner, Charles Rees and T.C. Roche. Photos from the 1860s reveal Richmond as a bustling naval port. Familiar photographs of Richmond's burned warehouses and mills have mistakenly identified the canal and turning basin as the James River. Close examination of photos taken soon after the fall of Richmond reveal such `treasures" as graffiti scrawled on burned out buildings by occupying Union soldiers. Images taken before and after Lincoln's assassination show a marked contrast in the intermingling of soldiers and civilians. Mr. Gorman's excellent website,, is a treasure trove of information on Richmond during the conflict. The high-resolution photographs alone - many of which were used in his presentation to the Round Table - make it well worth a visit.
Parole Pass Discovered in Historic Old Town Petersburg Building
Workers cleaning out an historic building in Old Town Petersburg recently discovered a hidden vault containing a parole pass that belonged to Confederate Lt. Patrick Hoy of Mississippi. After the war, Hoy married a Petersburg woman and went to work for Seward Luggage, the company that donated the historic building to the city in the 1980s. Employees of Seward Luggage tried to locate Hoy's descendents in order to offer them the document. When the search proved unsuccessful the pass was donated to the National Park Service where it will be kept at Petersburg National Battlefield Park. Hoy's pass was issued in Lynchburg on April 13, 1865 where he was recuperating in a hospital.
Museum to Feature Events and Exhibit on Confederate Navy
Richmond's Museum of the Confederacy will honor the Confederate Navy as part of its annual "Celebrate South" festivities on March 4 and 5. Friday evening's events include the eagerly anticipated opening of The Confederate Navy exhibit along with self-guided tours through the first-ever exhibit of the museum's extensive navy collection. Civil War naval historians, a torpedo expert and living history reenactors will be on hand to talk with guests. Tours of the Confederate Executive Mansion will also be offered. Saturday's events include a lecture and walking tour of Drewry's Bluff, often described as the "Gibraltar of the Confederacy." Museum staff historian and author of Capital Navy, Dr. John Coski will present a lecture on the role of Drewry's Bluff during the war. This will be followed by a walking tour of Drewry's Bluff led by historian Robert E.L. Krick and historic interpretations by the James River Squadron living historians. That evening, the formal Ironclad Ball will feature Southern cuisine, Civil War era music and period dances led by a professional dance caller. Reservations for all events are required by February 21. For more information see the museum's website,, or call Amanda Featherstone at (804) 649-1861 ext. 44.
University of Richmond Offers Civil War Course
The University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies will offer a course titled "At Gettysburg with Lee's Army," meeting from 7-9pm on five consecutive Monday nights, from March 14 to April 11. Following a stunning victory over his Union adversaries at Chancellorsville in May, 1863, General Robert E. Lee led his Confederates north, into Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania campaign continues to capture the interest of those fascinated by America's history. This course explores the reasons behind Lee's campaign, the circumstances that led to the bloody clash near the small town of Gettysburg, the conduct of the battle and reasons for its results, the Confederate retreat, and the impact of this three-day struggle on the outcome of the Civil War. The instructor will publish a suggested reading list prior to this course and will also provide useful handouts during class. This noncredit course will be led by retired Brigadier General Jack Mountcastle, the U.S. Army's former Chief of Military History and a RCWRT member. Class discussions will focus on the Confederate soldiers and the unit leaders who followed their commanding general across the Potomac, fought valiantly at Gettysburg, and then conducted a fighting withdrawal after being defeated by the Army of the Potomac. The cost of the non-credit course is $119. Registration is now open. For details call University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies at 289-8133 or visit their website at Click on "Catalogs" and then select the Think Again Noncredit course catalog for the Spring Term.
A Message from Your Semi-Humble Newsletter Editor
In the last couple of years, several Civil War roundtables across the country have begun giving their members the option of receiving their newsletters via email. The Richmond Civil War Round Table is now glad to offer this alternative to its members. So what's the advantage? For starters, you would receive your newsletter several days earlier. When I finish the newsletter and email it to the printing company, it typically takes two or three days for them to print and fold our copies. When I pick them up, it takes another day or two to apply all the labels, stamps and mailing seals to the roughly 250 newsletters we send out each month. And, of course, the postage takes yet another day or two -- even longer for those of you outside the Richmond area. In addition to time, you would be helping the Round Table save much-needed funds. When the costs of paper, printing, stamps, labels and mailing seals are added up, RCWRT spends well over $1,500 a year on newsletters alone. If only a quarter of our members were to receive the newsletter via email, the Round Table could save hundreds of dollars each year. So how does it work? If you'd like to receive the newsletter electronically, simply send an email to me, Rob Monroe, at Unless you tell me otherwise, I'll assume you want the newsletter mailed to the same email address you used when contacting me. Each month I'll email the RCWRT newsletter to you as a standard Microsoft Word document attachment. I hate spam as much as anyone so I'll clearly indicate the newsletter in the subject line (i.e. "Richmond Civil War Round Table - March newsletter"). Rest assured your email address will not be shared with anyone outside of the Round Table. Thanks. I hope to hear from you soon.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2005
Information may be emailed to or Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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