cguy.gif 01110008.jpg uguy.gif
April 2003
Brag Bowling, President         Rob Monroe, Editor     
3019 Kensington Ave             2416 Edenbrook Dr.     
Richmond, VA 23221              Richmond, VA 23228-3040

April 2003 PROGRAM DeAnne Blanton "They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 8, 2003, 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. DeAnne Blanton is a native Virginian who works as a Senior Archivist at the National Archives in Washington, D. C., specializing in 19th century Army records, particularly those of the Civil War. With Lauren Cook, she is the co-author of They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War, published by Louisiana State University Press in 2002. Her article "Women Soldiers of the Civil War" was published in the spring 1993 issue of Prologue and earned her the 1993 Sara Jackson Award for original scholarship. Popular images of women during the American Civil War include self-sacrificing nurses, romantic spies, and brave ladies maintaining hearth and home in the absence of their men. However, that conventional picture does not tell the entire story. Hundreds of women assumed male aliases, disguised themselves in men's uniforms, and charged into battle as Union and Confederate soldiers, facing down not only the guns of the adversary but also the gender prejudices of their society. They Fought Like Demons is the first book to fully explore and explain these women, their experiences as combatants, and the controversial issues surrounding their military service. Relying on more than a decade of research in primary sources, They Fought Like Demons documents more than 250 women in uniform and find that their reasons for fighting mirrored those of men-patriotism, honor, heritage, and a desire for excitement. Some enlisted to remain with husbands or brothers, while others had dressed as men before the war. Some so enjoyed being freed from traditional women's roles that they continued their masquerade well after 1865. They Fought Like Demons describes how Yankee and Rebel women soldiers eluded detection, some for many years, and even merited promotion.
Review of the February Program
J. A. Barton Campbell
J. A. Barton Campbell presented a lively talk titled "The Museum of the Confederacy-Past, Present, and Future?" He covered the history of the museum and summarized where the organization is today. His presentation ended with comments on the current challenges the museum faces. The building known as the White House was constructed in 1818 by John Brockenbrough, President of the Bank of Virginia. In 1857, Lewis Crenshaw, who was a flour manufacturer, purchased the home and added a third floor. An executive mansion was needed in the spring of 1861 for Confederate President Jefferson Davis after the new government moved to Richmond. Crenshaw sold the house and all of its furnishings to the city. It, in turn, leased the structure to the Confederate government. Davis, his wife, and their children moved into the mansion in August. Federal troops occupied the house on April 3, 1865, and continued to occupy it until 1870. The city got the home back and turned it into a public school after auctioning off all the furnishings. When the school closed in 1894, the building remained unused, and the city announced in 1889 that it would demolish it. The Ladies Hollywood Memorial Association decided to acquire the former executive mansion. In 1890, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society was formed, and it purchased the house with the view of turning it into a museum. The Society acquired artifacts from Confederate veterans until 1895. Called the Confederate Museum, the building was opened early in 1896. It was operated until 1976, when a new structure was opened next door and called the Museum of the Confederacy. Restoration work then began on the White House, and it reopened to the public in 1988. "USA Today" ranked the Museum of the Confederacy as one of the ten best military museums in the United States. It has the world's largest collection of Confederate artifacts and documents. With 550 flags, it holds half of the Confederate banners that have survived. The museum library contains 200,000 documents, and there are more than 6,000 images in the museum's collection. A severe fiscal deficit in 2002 resulted in a significant staff reduction, and the museum is still operating in the red. Nevertheless, new efforts have been and are being made to increase visitation and revenues. The museum shop has been enlarged. A local company refurbished the porch and balustrade of the White House. There is now a new membership brochure, and the staff has created a long-range plan for the organization. A new exhibit, "The Confederate Nation," will open on May 23, 2003. In 2005, the museum will open its first ever exhibit on the Confederate navy. Is the concept of a Museum of the Confederacy obsolete? Has such a museum outlived its relevance? Campbell clearly answered "no" to these questions. Yet the museum faces a number of challenges. One is its viability as a business. Will its cash flow improve? Visibility is another problem because the museum is not easy for many people to find. The museum must be competitive in receiving artifacts and getting dollars. Campbell concluded that the Museum of the Confederacy provides a unique window on the soul of our country. The organization needs to continue to educate and enlighten the citizens of the nation and to spread a respect for the people of the Civil War era.
April 12 & 13 CIVIL WAR WEEKEND Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, near Petersburg. One of the finest annual Civil War events in America. Learn first hand what the Civil War soldiers' experience was like, from enlistment to battle. Watch exciting tactical demonstrations and mingle with the soldiers in camp.
April 24 BOOK SIGNING AND TALK Time:7:00 pm Location: Short Pump Barnes and Noble Frank O'Reilly, author of "The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock" and "Stonewall Jackson at Fredericksburg: The Battle of Prospect Hill", will speak and sign books. For additional information call 360-0103.
April 24-27 CIVIL WAR PRESERVATION TRUST -- 2003 ANNUAL CONFERENCE "Breaking the Line: The Petersburg Campaign" The CWPT will hold its annual conference at the Crowne Plaza on Canal St. in downtown Richmond. The registration fee of $475 includes tours, tour guides, coaches, conference welcome packet, name tags, etc. Hotel reservations not included. For more details see or call 888-606-1400.
April 25 "SILENT PORTRAITS": AN EVENING OF SILENT FILMS ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR Time: 6:30 pm Location: Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works Program includes dinner at the Tredegar Cafe followed by the showing of two films from the silent movie era in the auditorium of the Civil War Visitor Center. Reservations and fee required for dinner. Films are free. For more information contact Mike Andrus at 804 226-1981.
April 26 RICHMOND CIVIL WAR DAY AT TREDEGAR IRON WORKS- Time: 10 am to 4 pm Location: 490 Tredegar Street Learn what soldier life was like during the Civil War. Union and Confederate soldiers will perform drill, rifle firings. Also on hand will be sailors, and civilians with period music and medical demonstrations. For more information call Mike Andrus at 804-226-1981 or the Civil War Visitor Center 804-771-2145.
April 26-27 BATTLE OF FIVE FORKS REENACTMENT Battle reenactment at 5000-acre Oak Ridge Estate, Lovingston, south of Charlottesville. This event will include a battle each day, a Saturday evening dance and civilian activities. All proceeds go to historic preservation. Hosted by 7th Virginia Co. F. More information at or call 410-529-1399.
Town of Chancellorsville Defeated Rezoaning Request At a March 25 meeting, the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected a Northern Virginia developer's request to rezone about 800 acres of land that was part of the Battle of Chancellorsville. Dogwood Development Group had proposed building a number of businesses and almost 2,000 homes as part of a project to be called the Town of Chancellorsville. Following more than seven hours of board discussion and comments from citizens, the supervisors voted 6-0 to deny Dogwood's request. The decision against rezoning is viewed as a substantial victory for several preservation groups that strongly objected to the development.
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: May newsletter, April 25 June newsletter, May 23 July newsletter, June 20 August newsletter, July 25 September newsletter, August 22 October newsletter, September 26 November newsletter, October 24 December newsletter, November 21 Information may be emailed to
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2003
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

Return to News Letters Index
Return to main page

©R.C.W.R.T. 2003