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

March 2005 PROGRAM Stephen W. Sears 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, 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. Stephen W. Sears worked for American Heritage Publishing for 24 years, most of that time as a book editor. He has written or edited a dozen books on the Civil War, including a biography of General George McClellan (George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon) and an edition of his papers (The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865); and campaign histories of the Peninsula (To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign); Antietam/Sharpsburg (Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam); Chancellorsville; and most recently, Gettysburg. Praised by the New York Times Book Review as "arguably the preeminent living historian of the war's eastern theater," Mr. Sears has won numerous awards including three Fletcher Pratt Awards from the New York Civil War Round Table (for Chancellorsville, Antietam and Gettysburg). He makes his home in Connecticut.
Reminder March 15th is the final deadline to pay your Richmond Civil War Round Table dues for 2005. If you have not already done so, please come prepared to pay your dues at the March meeting. Thank you!
A great crowd turned out in Feburary meeting to hear 'Bud" speak!

Summary of the February Meeting
Dr. 'Bud' Robertson
At the February meeting of the Richmond Civil War Round Table, Shep Parsons introduced our speaker, Dr. James I. "Bud" Robertson, as "a gentleman, scholar and legend." The popular Virginia Tech professor, historian and award-winning author drew a great laugh from his audience by stating that Shep's introduction "makes me feel old." Later, Robertson admitted he is now teaching some of the children of his former students at Tech. Even so, he has no plans of giving up the classroom. "If I stop teaching, I'll get old," he quipped. Turning his attention to the Civil War, Robertson observed, "Soldiers stepped forward because politicians failed." He praised the gallantry shown by the men in battle. Of those fortunate enough to come home, some 1.5 million were crippled from the war. Men without arms and legs became familiar sites in the towns of America. Deaths resulting from the Civil War necessitated the creation of 79 national cemeteries. The war's casualties consumed a staggering percentage of the population. By today's numbers, it would be equal to the loss of about 11 million Americans. Robertson lamented the loss of great gifts of art and scientific discoveries that could have been made by those who died in the war, as well as the contributions of their unborn children and grandchildren. By the time of Appomattox, the war had spawned around 3,000 new songs, including "Taps." In addition to new weapons, such as hand grenades, the war was mother to inventions we now take for granted, like canned foods and can openers. Women employed by factories -taking positions left vacant by men off at war -- began wearing slacks when hoop skirts proved to be impractical for their jobs. The Civil War saw the first clothes labeled with sizes and the first pairs of shoes - one shoe designed specifically for the left foot and one for the right. The war saw the creation of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the establishment of Thanksgiving and Memorial Day as national holidays. The first paper currency was issued in 1862. The first postal money orders and nationally chartered banks were established to allow an easier flow of funds between soldiers at the front and families back home. The words "In God We Trust" first began to appear on American currency. Robertson described himself as a "social historian" as opposed to a "military historian." Before the Civil War, explained Robertson, the federal government touched people's lives in one way - it delivered their mail to the local post office. During the war, home delivery of the mail was established after local postmasters complained about the scenes of hysteria and grief that occurred at their offices when families received letters notifying them of the death of a loved one. A person can never understand the United States until he or she understands the Civil War, insisted Robertson. Before the war, 11 of the 12 amendments to the Constitution limited the power of government. After the Civil War, amendments began to empower the federal government. Robertson forbids his students from using the term "United States" when referring to the nation before the war. If we had indeed been united states, he said, we would never have fought the war. Robertson wrapped up his remarks to the RCWRT with a statement he makes to his students each semester. "This is your country. Never forget who gave it to you."
Bookseller Offers Discount to RCWRT Members History Out-of-Print, a business specializing in military history books and biographies, is offering a 10% discount to members of the Richmond Civil War Round Table. In addition to out-of-print books, the business buys and sells rare and antiquarian books. History Out-of-Print offers hundreds of books on the Civil War and features a free, no obligation search service. David Ebrite History Out-of-Print 130-C John Morrow Pkwy, #105 Gainesville, GA 30501 1-770-532-5747 Fax 1-770-532-0166
Upcoming Events
Saturday, April 2. The Friends of Petersburg Battlefield will host a Pig Roast-Cookout in memory of veterans on the 140th Anniversary of the Fall of Petersburg. The public is invited for the event being held from noon to dusk at Robert E. Lee Park in Petersburg. Free tours of the battlefield area will be conducted throughout the afternoon. Donations will be accepted towards the placement of Virginia Civil War Trail signs along the Flank and Defense Roads. The Friends of Petersburg Battlefield is a grass roots, non-profit organization determined to restore some glory and, at a minimum, identification to forts that are "dormant" and neglected. Info: Cheryl Moody (804) 895-1070, or:
Thursday, April 7. "When War Came This Way: Women's Experiences During the Civil War in Virginia," lecture by retired Brig. Gen. John W. Mountcastle. In every Virginia community, women endured anxiety and heartbreak, trauma and quiet privation. Their varied experiences and reactions are the subject of this lecture by RCWRT member Jack Mountcastle. A 32-year veteran of the U.S. Army, he taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and later commanded the Army Center of Military History in Washington. Lecture begins at noon at the Virginia Historical Society on Boulevard in Richmond. Info: or (804) 358-4901.
Saturday, April 9. Historian and RCWRT member Dr. John Coski will sign copies of his new book, The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem, at the Museum of the Confederacy on E. Clay St. in downtown Richmond. Book signing from noon to 5pm, talk at 3pm. Info: or (804) 649-1861.
Chesterfield County Site Included on List of Most Endangered Battlefields At a February 24 news conference broadcast live by C-Span, the Civil War Preservation Trust presented its list of the ten most endangered battlefields in America. Included on the list are battlefields at Franklin, TN; Raymond, MS; Mansfield, LA; Kennesaw Mountain, GA; Wilson's Creek, MO; Morris Island, SC; and Knoxville, TN. Three Virginia sites made the list including the battlefields at Spotsylvania, Manassas and Bermuda Hundred in Chesterfield County. Bermuda Hundred was never intended to be a battlefield. Instead, this peninsula jutting into the James River was supposed to be the starting point for a victorious Union effort to seize control of Richmond. Unfortunately for the Union cause, cautiousness and mediocrity conspired to transform the Bermuda Hundred Campaign into a series of bloody but inconclusive battles that eventually developed into grim trench warfare. Today, the fate of the Bermuda Hundred battlefields seems equally grim. Most of the siege lines and battlefields have already succumbed to sprawl. Chesterfield County has protected 122 acres of hallowed ground associated with the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, creating a chain of small parks that protect isolated parts of the battlefields. The National Park Service has protected some additional land at Parker's Battery and nearby Drewry's Bluff (Fort Darling). However, much more work needs to be done. Ware Bottom Church, the site of fighting on May 20, 1864, is considered the most threatened. Commercial development along Route 10 is also having an adverse effect on the remaining Bermuda Hundred battlefields.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2005
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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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