cguy.gif 01110008.jpg uguy.gif
March 2000
R.Danny Witt, President               John M.Coski, editor
5500 Ashton Park Way                      1201 E.Clay St.
Glen Allen, VA 23059                   Richmond, VA 23219

Steven H. Newton

Defending Richmond: Joseph E. Johnston and the Last Ditch

8:00 p.m., Tuesdav, March 14, 2000
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard
(corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
Enter basement door from Boulevard side.

Dr.  Steven Newton is a career  NCO  in  the  Virginia  Army
National  Guard, as well as professor of history at Delaware
State University.  He received his B.A.  in history  at  St.
Andrews  Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina,
his M.A.  in history from James Madison University, and  his
Ph.D.  in history from the College of William and Mary.  His
doctoral dissertation on Joseph E.  Johnston and the defense
of  Richmond  was  published  last year by the University of
Kansas Press.  He also wrote the volume  on  the  battle  of
Seven  Pines  in  the  H.   E.  Howard campaigns and battles
series.   He  is  finishing  a  new  book   concerning   the
Confederate army in 1864.  His article, "'Formidable only in
Flight?': Casualties, Attrition,  and  Morale  in  Georgia,"
which continues his review of Joseph Johnston's generalship,
appears in the current issue of North & South magazine.   In
addition  to  his  work  on  the  Civil  War, he has written
several books and articles on the Russian front during World
War II.

Review of February Program
By Sam Craghead

Mark  Ragan,  author  of  Union  and  Confederate  Submarine
Warfare in the Civil War is one of  the  divers  working  on
raising  the  H.   L.  Hunley, the first submarine to sink a
ship during a war, and has dived on the Hunley's victim, the
U.S.S.    Housatonic.   Although  the  story  of  Hunley  is
reasonably well known, there is an almost unknown  story  of
all  of the other submarines and their use by both the Union
and Confederate forces during the war.  This  is  the  story
Mark  Ragan  has  to  tell.   The  Alligator  was  the first
commissioned submarine in the U.S.  Navy, and was built  for
the  purpose  of  attacking  the  C.S.S.  Virginia.  She was
towed to Hampton Roads in June, 1862 -- after the threat  of
the  Virginia  no  longer  existed  -to  be  used  to  clear
obstructions in the  James  River,  especially  at  Drewry's
Bluff, and to operate against the bridge over the Appomattox
River, which was important for  the  Confederate  forces  to
receive  supplies.   The  federal  submarine  never  had the
chance to attack the  bridge  or  obstructions  because  the
Seven  Days  Battles  kept  the  Union navy employed helping
McClellan's Army of the Potomac.  The  Alligator  was  taken
back  north  and  placed under the command of Lt.  Thomas O.
Selfridge.   Lt.   Selfridge  conducted  trials   with   the
submarine,  initiating  many  improvements  on  the  vessel.
Ironically, Lt.  Selfridge was transferred to the  west  and
placed  in  command of the U.S.S.  Cairo, which later became
the first union warship to be sunk by a Confederate  torpedo
(mine).   Although  various plans and vessels were submitted
to the U.S.  Navy during the war, no  evidence  exists  that
the  federal  navy  employed other submarines in action.  On
the  other  hand,  because  of  the  encouragement  of   the
far-sighted    navy    secretary,   Stephen   Mallory,   the
Confederates turned to the submarine as a means to lift  the
blockade   of   southern   ports.    Besides   the   Hunley,
Confederates may have built as  many  as  two-dozen  of  the
underwater  vessels.   They  were  operating  all  along the
southern coast as well as two being built  at  the  Tredegar
Iron  Works  in  Richmond,  which  may  have  seen action in
Hampton roads.  Richmond was also the location of the Triton
Company,  which  was  engaged in building submarines for the
Confederacy.  Another group  of  Southerners  encouraged  to
experiment  with  submarine technology was the Singer Secret
Service Corps.  Edward Singer's  group  also  supported  the
work  of  H.  L.  Hunley and the group of engineers building
submarines.  The Hunley was  actually  the  third  submarine
built  by  Hunley, James McClintock, and Baxter Watson.  The
Pioneer was built in New Orleans  but  did  not  see  action
before  the  city  was  surrendered  to federal forces.  The
group then moved operations to Mobile, where they built  the
Pioneer  II,  which  sunk  in  Mobile  Bay,  possibly  while
attempting to make an attack  against  union  ships.   There
were  numerous  fascinating  ideas  in  conjunction with the
submarine construction by both governments.  These  included
a  means  to  purify air, periscopes, the ability to leave a
submerged vessel using  "submarine  armor,"  and  "submarine
cannon."  No  summary  can  do  justice to this talk and the
subject.  I refer everyone in the Round Table to  the  books
that  Mr.   Ragan has written on the subject.  Ragan's story
is an unfolding one.  He will be one of the  divers  present
when  the  Hunley  is raised later this year, and he is also
conducting more extensive research on Civil  War  submarines
for the Hunley Commission.


Round Table  members  have  rediscovered  the  announcements
page,  and it looks like it is going to be a busy spring.

Celebrate South Ball.  There  are  (as  of  March  1)  still
tickets  left  for  The  Museum of the Confederacy's popular
annual fund-raising ball, which this year honors  Robert  E.
Lee.   The  ball  is Saturday, March 18, and tickets are $79
per person.  For details about the ball and other events  of
the  weekend,  call  Sarah  Meadows Brown at (804) 649-1861,
Ext 43.

Douglas  Southall  Freeman  Lectures.   The  University   of
Richmond's annual Freeman chair public lectures will be held
on Thursdays, March 16 and 23 at 7:30 p.m.  at Keller  Hall.
Dr.   William  J.   Cooper,  of  Louisiana State University,
whose biography of Jefferson  Davis  will  be  published  by
Knopf  later  this  year, will speak on "Jefferson Davis and
the Politics of Secession"  and  "Jefferson  Davis  and  the
Politics of Confederate Command."

Bud  Robertson speaks!  The Richmond Chapter of the Virginia
Tech Alumni Association is hosting a dinner forum  featuring
James  I.   "Bud" Robertson, Jr., speaking on "Why the Civil
War Still Lives." The event will be on Thursday, March 30 at
6:30 p.m.  at the Holiday Inn Koger Center.  Tickets are $25
per person and include dinner.  Reservations  are  required.
Call Marissa Erpelding at (804) 786-8111 no later than March

Pamplin Historical Park Anniversary Weekend.   Commemorating
the  events  of the Petersburg breakthrough, Pamplin Park is
featuring   a   weekend   of    infantry    and    artillery
demonstrations,  soldier  and  civilian living history, live
Civil  War  music,  lectures,  and  guided  tours   of   the
battlefield  and  antebellum  home on April 1-2.
Call (804) 861-2408 or (toll free) 1-877-PAMPLIN.

Lectures on Robert E.  Lee.  The Museum of the Confederacy's
annual  Evening  Series  Lectures  will explore the life and
career of Robert E.  Lee.  The first lecture (April 5) is  a
panel   discussion  on  Lee's  generalship  featuring  Bevin
Alexander, Gary Gallagher, Joseph Harsh, and Alan Nolan; the
second  (April  12)  is  R.E.L.   Krick  speaking  on  Lee's
military staff; the third (April 19) is Emory M.  Thomas  on
"the  burdens  of  the Lee biographer." Each lecture will be
held at 5:30 p.m.  in the Library  of  Virginia  auditorium,
800  E.   Broad St.  and costs $5 per person (Museum members
are  free).   Reservations  are   necessary.    Call   (804)
649-1861, x10.

Appomattox  Court House National Historical Park anniversary
commemoration.  The  135th  anniversary  of  the  Appomattox
surrender  appropriately falls on a Sunday, and the national
park has a full weekend  of  programs  on  April  8-9.   The
events include talks and tours by Park historians Ron Wilson
and Chris Calkins, living history  presentations,  and  book
signings  by  Chris Calkins and Patrick Schroeder (author of
several books on the myths of the surrender).  All  programs
will begin at the park visitor center.  For more information
call (804) 352-8987, ext.  26, for details.

Appomattox / Civil War seminar at Longwood College.  Also in
commemoration  of the Appomattox anniversary, the Appomattox
park and Longwood College are sponsoring  a  free  full  day
seminar  on  Saturday,  April  15  featuring James I.  "Bud"
Robertson, Brian Steele Wills, William  Marvel,  William  C.
"Jack"  Davis, and David Coles.  The seminar will be held in
Wygal Hall, on Pine Street (parking is available at the Winn
Building)  on  the  Longwood campus.  While seminar is free,
seating is limited to the first 195 people.

Lee's Retreat bus tour.  Chris Calkins,  of  the  Petersburg
National Battlefield, and Ron Wilson, of Appomattox National
Historical Site, will lead a tour of sites  associated  with
Lee's   retreat,   including   Sailor's   Creek,  Farmville,
Cumberland Church, and Appomattox Court House, on  Saturday,
May  13.  The tour costs $40, which includes a lunch and two
guide books.  For information and reservations, call Dana at
(804) 352-2136.

Wilson's   Wharf   /  Fort  Pocahontas  battle  reenactment.
Sherwood Forest  Plantation  is  holding  the  third  annual
reenactment  of  the battle of Wilson's Wharf on the weekend
of May 20-21.  The event commemorates the largest Civil  War
battle  on  Charles City County soil and features tours of a
pristine,  little-known  field  fortification.   The  events
include  (on  Saturday)  tactical  demonstrations and battle
reenactment, a pig roast on  the  banks  of  the  James,  an
evening  lantern  tour,  and  final  artillery fire; and (on
Sunday)  more   military   demonstrations   and   a   battle
reenactment.   The  fee for Saturday is $8 per adult, $5 per
student; pig roast is $10 per person plus tax; lantern  tour
is  $5/$4;  fee  for  entire day is $20 per adult, plus tax.
Call Kay Tyler at (804) 829-5377 for details.

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