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
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
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.
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
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
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 www.pamplinpark.org.
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:
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
3901 Paces Ferry Road
Chester, VA 23831-1239