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April 2002
Clark H. Lewis, President         Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
P. O. Box 1122                    3901 Paces Ferry Road      
Richmond, VA 23218                 Chester, VA 23831-1239   

April 2002 PROGRAM

Dr. Edward C. Smith "The Civil War Through the Eyes of Lincoln, Lee, and Douglas" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, 2002, at the Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.) The Round Table is happy to have Professor Edward C. Smith of American University as our April speaker. He is well known in Civil War circles and has sparked much debate with his often controversial views of the war and Southern leadership. Professor Smith is a third generation Washingtonian and the Director of American Studies and Special Assistant to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at American University since 1969. He is also a Civil War, African-American Cultural Heritage, and Art History Lecturer and Study Tour Leader for the Smithsonian Institution, National Georgraphic Society, and National Park Service. He has served as a consultant to numerous federal agencies, including the U. S. Senate, and in 1977-1978, he took a leave of absence from teaching to work at The White House as a presidential speechwriter during the Carter administration. Smith's writings have appeared in The Yale Review, The Washington Post, The Military Review, The Gettysburg National Battlefield Journal, The Wall Street Journal, Washington History, The Lincoln Review, and numerous other publications. He is an Honorary Cabinet Member of the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum in Beauvoir, Mississippi, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Institute of The Library of Congress. Smith is currently writing two books on the Civil War. In 1991, he was awarded the American University's Distinguished Faculty Award. Most recently an endowed scholarship has been named in his honor at the University of Richmond to further the study of the Civil War era and beyond. He was also made a Distinguished Honorary Member of the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Article by Dr. Smith
Review of the March Program
Dr.  William C.  Cooper, Jr.
Dr. William C. Cooper, Jr., spoke on "Jefferson Davis and His Generals." Cooper suggested that, to understand Davis' relationship with his generals, it is important to look at his antebellum career. Cooper pointed out that Davis did not want the union to come apart. He was a devoted patriot. Davis' father had served as a soldier in the American Revolution. Davis had graduated from West Point, had been a hero in the Mexican War, was a representative and U. S. senator from Mississippi, and was Secretary of War in the 1850s. Davis did not advocate secession. He tried to find a way out of the crisis, but none was found. Davis waited in Washington, D. C., until he received notice that Mississippi had seceded. He told a friend that it was the saddest day of his life; the union he loved so much had failed. As president of the Confederacy, Davis would not contemplate its failure. He believed that the people of the South must have a strong allegiance and loyalty to the new nation. The old party system was a thing of the past. There were no more Democrats or Whigs. Davis believed in the "one party of the South." The cause was above political or personal ambition. If a man could not put those aside, he was unworthy of power. Cooper described Davis' relationship with four generals. Davis knew Joseph E. Johnston well, and they had something of a history together. Johnston had received important appointments from Davis, and the two were very cordial before the war. The problem between them developed over rank. When the full generals of the Confederacy were announced in the fall of 1861, Johnston was fourth on the list behind Samuel Cooper, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Lee. Johnston was outraged. When the war began, he had been Quartermaster General in the old army, the highest ranking of its officers. He felt he should be the highest ranking Confederate general. When he complained to Davis, the president was enraged. Johnston had exhibited pride and ambition, and Davis only saw him as putting self above the cause. Their relationship was poisoned from then on, and neither man ever trusted the other. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was the first Confederate hero, the conquerer of Fort Sumter. He was happy to be fifth on the list of full generals. Beauregard's first problems with Davis came immediately after First Manassas. The president began to question Beauregard's loyalty. After the Battle of Shiloh, Beauregard went on sick leave without permission. Davis was incensed and replaced him with Braxton Bragg. Davis never regained his trust in Beauregard. As commander of the Army of Tennessee, Braxton Bragg was a good organizer and trainer of men. Davis looked upon him favorably because, when Bragg was commanding at Pensacola early in the war, he never questioned orders that sent men away from his command. Davis saw his abilities and felt that Bragg was committed to the Confederacy. Bragg was a poor field general, and eventually Davis had to remove him from command. Robert E. Lee had an outstanding reputation when the war began. He served for a time as Davis' personal advisor. After some unsuccessful field commands, Lee returned to Richmond. Davis named him commander of the Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Fair Oaks. The two men agreed on the Confederacy's approach to the war. Lee was a great subordinate as well as a great field general. He kept Davis informed, and there was great trust between them. Cooper concluded that Davis' great commitment to the Confederacy may have been the very thing that hurt him the most in dealing with his generals. He did not utilize Johnston and Beauregard properly because of personal feelings and was too loyal to Bragg for too long.
April Raffle This month's raffle prize is the new book A Scythe of Fire: The Civil War Story of the Eighth Georgia Infantry Regiment, by Warren Wilkinson and Steven E. Woodworth. Read Danny Witt's review of this book.
Spring Field Trip The Richmond Civil War Round Table's Spring field trip will be on May 4 and will a visit to the Averasboro and Bentonville battlefields in North Carolina. Mark L. Bradley will be the tour guide. Bradley is a native North Carolinian and the author of Last Stand in the Carolinas: The Battle of Bentonville and This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place. He is an experience tour guide and should make this a memorable trip. Cost for the trip will be $30.00 per person. The bus will depart from the shopping center parking lot at the corner of Brook Road and Parham at 6:30 a.m. Return will be around 6:30 p.m. that evening. Please bring a lunch and drinks. Morning and afternoon snacks will be furnished. You can make a reservation by giving your check to Art Bergeron at one of the meetings or by mailing it to: Art Bergeron 3901 Paces Ferry Road Chester, VA 23831-1239
Civil War Classes at University of Richmond Dr. Jack Mountcastle is offering the following two classes. They will be held from 7:00 - 9:30 P.M., and the fee for each one is $31.00. On Monday, April 15, the topic will be Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. This evening, the class will look closely at the man and his family, the troops he led in battle, and his leadership style. On Monday, May 13, the topic will be John Brown Gordon. The class will look closely at this Confederate general from Georgia who was wounded in action five times and selected to serve as commander of Confederate troops during the official surrender ceremony at Appomattox. Call the School of Continuing Studies at 804-289-8133 for registration information. Their hours are 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., M - Th, and 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Friday.
Ukrops' Golden Gift Program Once again this year, we will be collecting Ukrops' receipts from its Golden Gift Program to benefit the Richmond Battlefields Association (RBA). Please remember to solicit these receipts from friends and co-workers who may otherwise not donate them to any particular organization. Your support of the RBA is greatly appreciated.
Volunteer Needed The Round Table needs a volunteer to take responsibility for setting up snacks for our monthly meeting. Please see Richard Grosse for details or call him at 798-1051. Thanks in advance.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2002
Newsletter Deadlines To facilitate the printing and timely distribution of the monthly newsletter, information for it should be submitted to the editors no later than the following dates: for May; May 24 for June; June 21 for July; July 19 for August; August 23 for September; September 20 for October; October 18 for November; and November 22 for December
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors 3901 Paces Ferry Road Chester, VA 23831-1239

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©R.C.W.R.T. 2002