cguy.gif 01110008.jpg uguy.gif
March 2001
Sam Craghead, President         Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
4361F Lakefield Mews            3901 Paces Ferry Road      
Richmond, VA 23231              Chester, VA 23831-1239   

March 2001 PROGRAM

Joseph L. Harsh

"Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign"

8:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 13, 2001, at the
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
We will meet in the sanctuary this month.

Our speaker for the March meeting will be  Professor  Joseph
L.   Harsh.  Dr.  Harsh is a professor of history and former
chair of history at George Mason  University.   He  received
his  Doctorate  in  history  at  Rice  University,  where he
studied under noted historian Frank E.  Vandiver.  Harsh  is
the author of the trilogy Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E.
Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862; Sounding
the  Shallows;  and  Taken  at  the  Flood: Robert E.  Lee &
Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign.  Taken at the
Flood  received the Jefferson Davis Award from the Museum of
the Confederacy and the Douglas Southall Freeman Award.   He
is   the   founding   president  of  the  Northern  Virginia
Association of Historians and was editor from  1980-1990  of
Courier of Historical Events.  His articles have appeared in
a number  of  professional  journals,  including  Civil  War
History and Military Affairs.                               

Professor   Harsh   will   speak  to  us  about  his  recent
publication Taken at the Flood and will focus his remarks on
the  Confederate  strategy during the Maryland Campaign.  In
his books, he has forcefully argued against  the  idea  that
Lee's strategy squandered Confederate resources and that Lee
lacked tactical brilliance.  Harsh persuasively writes  that
Lee's  military  operations actually allowed the Confederacy
to survive longer than it could  have  otherwise  and  might
have achieved Southern independence.                        

Review of the February Program
Bobby Krick
Our February meeting celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Richmond Civil War Round Table. Bobby Krick opened with a brief discussion of the early history of the group and then focused on our anniversary project-the revision and re-issue of Mr. J. Ambler Johnston's book Echoes of 1861 - 1961. In addition to his tenure with the Richmond Civil War Round Table, Ambler Johnston was a trusted friend of Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman and a very active participant in the preservation of local Civil War history. Late in his life, Mr. Johnston reminisced about the early history of the area battlefields and the personalities associated with Civil War Richmond in the early 20th century. The book includes a short account by longtime Roundtable member Bill Mallory about the formation of our group in 1951. Our reprint of this volume includes an index, a listing of the past presidents, and an expanded section chronicling all of our previous speakers and their subjects. Mr. Johnston's original driving tour of the area battle area battlefields has been updated by Sam Craghead to reflect modern alterations to the route, and that is in an appendix as well.
J. Ambler Johnston
J. Ambler Johnston The first meeting of the Richmond Civil War Round Table was announced in the News Leader in January 1951. At that time, the group met in a cabin at Fort Harrison. It was a small gathering, and the program was informal. Bill Clarke was the first president. For several years, a topic was introduced, and all in attendance had a chance to discuss it. A newsletter was begun in 1954. Even in its early days, the Round Table held summer tours, and meetings just prior to the outing frequently focused on the site or sites to be visited.
Hobson Goddin
Krick then shared center stage with Mr. Hobson Goddin, who reminisced about his close friend, Ambler Johnston, and the history of the Round Table. Goddin is descended from a member of the Goochland Light Dragoons and grew up in Richmond at a time when it was, as he described it, "a provincial city." Everyone knew each other. In those days, he said, if you had money, either your family had not invested in Confederate war bonds or, God forbid, your ancestor had married a Yankee. Goddin spoke of visiting the Confederate veterans home near where he lived. Some of the highlights of Richmond history that helped shape his love of the Civil War were the parades in which the Richmond Light Infantry Blues, Richmond Howitzers, and Richmond Grays participated; the opening of "Gone With the Wind" at Lowell's Theater; and local reenactments such as those of the Battle of the Crater in Petersburg when the Virginia Military Institute cadets would portray the victorious Confederates. Of course, the publication of Douglas Southall Freeman's Lee's Lieutenants added to his growing interest in the war. In 1953, Mr. Goddin saw a notice in the newspaper for a Round Table meeting and joined the organization. It was then meeting at the Branch Hotel. Later the group moved to the Congregational Church and, after a few years, to our current meeting site. Most of the talks he remembers were given by the members rather than guest speakers. The organization even sponsored for a time the Prison Civil War Round Table, with a yearly lecture given to the prisoners. Copies of Echoes of 1861-1961 are now available for sale. The cost to members is $17.00 plus shipping. No shipping charges will be added if members pick up the book themselves.
Museum of the Confederacy The Museum of the Confederacy Evening Series Lectures for 2001 will be "The Debate over Black Confederates, Then and Now." Programs will be held in the auditorium of the Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St., Richmond, Virginia. Programs are free of charge, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Please call (804) 649-1861 ext. 10 to make reservations. On Wednesday, March 14, at 5:30 p.m., Dr. Robert F. Durden, of Duke University and author of the prize-winning study, The Gray and the Black: The Confederate Debate on Emancipation, will deliver a lecture of the same title. The final program will be on Wednesday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m. It will be a Panel Discussion on Black Confederates featuring Dr. Edward C. Smith, Director of the Civil War Institute at American University and author of "Calico, Black and Gray: Women and Blacks in the Confederacy;" Professor Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., of the University of Virginia and author of Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia; and Dr. Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr., Historian at Pamplin Historical Park and author of "Louisiana's Free Men of Color in Gray" and Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units, 1861-1865.
Pamplin Historical Park One of the area's top Civil War events of the year will take place March 31-April 1 when Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier hosts it's annual "Breakthrough Weekend." The event will feature infantry, cavalry, and artillery tactical exercises and drills as well as combined arms demonstrations. Civil War photography and Signal Corp demonstrations will occur throughout both days, along with civilian and plantation life living history. Pulitzer-prize nominee Jay Winik will lecture on the subject of his new book April 1865: The Month That Saved America and park executive director Will Greene will speak on his book, Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion. Greene and Winik will each conduct book signings as well. Pamplin Historical Park is located at 6125 Boydton Plank Road (take I-85, exit 63-A), Petersburg. For more information, call 804-861-2408 or visit
Member Asks for Assistance Bobby Krick is seeking a tape recording of the talk given to the Round Table by Andrew Lytle in November 1983. Anyone who has or knows of such a recording should call Bobby during the day at 226-1981.
Spring Field Trip Brag Bowling wants to thank everyone who signed up for the Spring Field Trip. It is sold out. The group will leave from the parking lot of the shopping center at Brook and Parham Road (where the Lowes and Walmart stores are located) at 6:30 a. m. SHARP on April 21. Please bring your own lunch. Anyone who has signed up to meet the group in Manassas should park your car at the Manassas Visitor Center and be there by 8 a. m. The bus will pick you up there. We will return in the late afternoon. Brag would like to hear any suggestions for the fall tour.
Connecticut Civil War Round Table The Connecticut Civil War Round Table is sponsoring two bus trip/battlefield tours this summer and is inviting members of other Round Tables to join them. "Confederate Gettysburg from McPherson's Ridge to Pickett's Charge" will be held June 21-23. Tour guides for this program will be John M. Priest and Michael Phipps. Evening lectures will be presented by Dr. Richard J. Sommers, Jay Jorgensen, and David A. Ward. "R. E. Lee's Maryland Campaign from Harper's Ferry to the Bloody Lane" will be held July 12-14. John M. Priest and Dennis E. Frye will serve as tour guides. Evening lectures will be presented by Dr. Joseph L. Harsh, Ted Alexander, and Dennis E. Frye. Informational flyers and registration forms will be available at our March meeting. If we run out of flyers, interested members can contact: David A. Ward, Program Chairman, Connecticut Civil War Round Table, P. O. Box 800, c/o The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT 06039-0800; phone (860) 435-3244 or e-mail:
From the Editors We welcome submissions to the monthly newsletter, although we cannot always include them due to space restrictions. Please send potential items to us no later than eighteen (18) days prior to the meeting date.
Richmond Civil War Round Table in Cyberspace. The Round Table's Web site includes the monthly newsletter, CW book reports, photographs, other CW web site links, and a list of forthcoming speakers. The URL or Web address is: or just
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors 3901 Paces Ferry Road Chester, VA 23831-1239

Return to News Letters Index
Return to main page

©R.C.W.R.T. 2000-2001