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

April 2005 PROGRAM Mr. Hunter Lesser "Robert E. Lee's Forlorn Hope: Western Virginia, 1861" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 12, 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. Hunter Lesser has had a 20-year career as an archaeologist and historical interpreter. His writings on America's past have spanned topics from ancient Native American sites to Kentucky moonshine stills. A resident of Elkins, WV, and a lifelong student of the Civil War, he served as a technical advisor for the Conservation Fund's The Civil War Battlefield Guide. He is the author of Rebels at the Gate: Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided (Sourcebooks 2004), a History Book Club main selection. Confederate General Robert E. Lee's role in the first campaign of the Civil War is a neglected chapter in American history. Lee's attempt to reclaim mountainous Western Virginia for the Confederacy ended in failure. Nebulous orders, divided loyalties, and bitter weather conspired against Lee. The general's aide-de-camp was killed, his son nearly lost, and Lee himself dodged capture and death. He left the region with a diminished reputation and the unflattering nickname "Granny Lee." Yet this "forlorn hope" expedition laid the groundwork for Lee's legendary rapport with the troops, secured a famous warhorse, and shaped his stellar military career.
Symposium Will Focus on War's End The Museum of the Confederacy and the Library of Virginia are combining forces again to present a symposium titled "Beyond April 1865." Taking place on Saturday, April 23, this daylong program will bring together four noted historians: Noah A. "Andy" Trudeau, David W. Blight, D. Alan Harris and Mark L. Bradley. They will discuss the diverse events, perspectives, and interpretations of the end of the war. Trudeau is author of Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage; Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War 1862-1865, and a trilogy on the last year of the war, including Out of the Storm: The End of the Civil War, April-June 1865. Blight is a professor of history at Yale University, director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center, and author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory 1865-1915. Harris is a professor of history emeritus at Old Dominion University and co-editor of The Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah: A Memorable Cruise. Bradley is author of Last Stand in the Carolinas: The Battle of Bentonville and This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place. At the end of the program, the panelists will lead a general discussion about the war's end and the implications of 1865 for subsequent American history. Did April 1865 really save America and usher in an era of sectional reconciliation? The symposium will be held in the lecture hall of the Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St. in Richmond. The cost is $15 for Museum of the Confederacy members and Library of Virginia donors, $20 for others. Reservations are required and forms may be found on the Museum of the Confederacy's website,
Festival Celebrates Hanover County's Civil War History The Cold Harbor Guards, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #1764, will present the Second Annual Dixie Days on the weekend of May 6-8. The three-day festival will celebrate Hanover County's storied involvement in the Civil War. Attractions will include period encampments, music, educational exhibits, military demonstrations, and reenactments of the Battle of Bethesda Church on Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at noon. The event will be held at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville and is designed to promote and preserve the history of Hanover County in the 1860's. For more information, see the Guard's website, or call (804) 512-7210.
Upcoming Events
April 16-17 "Last Capital of the Confederacy Anniversary Weekend" at the Sutherlin Mansion in Danville. Living history encampment, demonstrations and van tours of Danville's Civil War sites. (434) 793-5644 or
April 21 Historian Frank O'Reilly speaks on "The Battle of Fredericksburg." 7-8:30pm at the Fredericksburg Campus on Germanna Community College, Room 114. Free.
May 1 Civil War Fashion Show and Tea at Mulberry Hill Plantation, Staunton River Battlefield State Park in Halifax Co. 2-5pm. Free. (434) 454-4312 or
May 1 "Civil War Encampment and Freedman's Farm," on the grounds of James Madison's home, Montpelier in Orange Co. 2 pm. (540) 672-2728 or
History Center Offers Comprehensive Look at Civil War Richmond On April 16, the Valentine Richmond History Center is offering visitors a comprehensive look at the city in the 1860s. The "Civil War Sampler" is a four-hour bus tour exploring the unique role Richmond played as the Capital of the Confederacy. Chimborazo, Libby Prison, the infamous Belle Isle and the Evacuation Fire will all be covered. The tour begins in the city, then drives through Church Hill, Shockoe Bottom, the Court End and the canal area, stopping at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and Tredegar Iron Works. Participants will be driven by Hollywood Cemetery, Monument Avenue and out to the battlefields, with stops at Gaines Mill and Cold Harbor. Running from 1-4pm, the tour is $18 for adults, $15 for History Center members, veterans and children 6 to 18 years old. The price includes admission the History Center that day, there is no charge for children under 6.
Pamplin Park to Host Special Events in April and May Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier will present the Ninth Annual Civil War Weekend on April 16 and 17. In addition to the park's daily events and activities, visitors will be able to relive the war through the sights, sounds and smells experienced by the soldiers themselves. The event also marks the opening of the park's Civil War Adventure Camp, billed as "America's only Civil War immersion experience." Participants will be "enlisted" as privates and travel back in time to experience life as a Civil War soldier. On May 6-8, Pamplin Park is hosting its Second Annual Spring Tour, "1865: Petersburg to Appomattox." A. Wilson Greene and other noted historians will travel to well-known and lesser-known sites associated with the closing battles of the Civil War in Virginia. Stops include Hatcher's Run, Lewis Farm, White Oak Road, Five Forks, Ft. Gregg, A.P. Hill death site, Sutherland Station, Namozine Church, Sailor's Creek and Appomattox Court House. The program will open Friday evening, May 6 at 6pm with a reception followed by dinner and a presentation by noted historian Chris Calkins of the National Park Service. An optional tour covering the Wilson-Kautz Raid is available during the day of May 6 and is limited to 40 participants. The $249 registration fee includes tours, lectures and meals. The Wilson-Kautz Tour is an additional $50. A copy of the registration form may be found on the park's website, The park may be contacted by calling toll-free 1-877-PAMPLIN.
Roanoke Seminar Examines Civil War Navy The Roanoke Civil War Round Table, Virginia Western Community College and the Civil War Preservation Trust will present a seminar focusing on naval efforts during the Civil War. "Smokestacks & Pivot Guns" will be held Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21, at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke. Speakers include David Duncan (Director of Membership and Development, Civil War Preservation Trust), William C. "Jack" Davis (Director of Programs, Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech), David Coles (history professor, Longwood), Spencer C. Tucker (retired chair of military history, VMI), R. Thomas Campbell (author of 14 books, contributor to Confederate Veteran), John Quarstein (director, Virginia War Museum in Newport News), Craig L. Symonds (history professor, U.S. Naval Academy) and Richard Lewis (Virginia Tourism Corporation). The seminar's topics include "Civil War Battlefield Preservation" (Duncan), "Navy Secretaries: Welles vs. Mallory" (Davis), "East Gulf Blockade Squadron" (Coles), "Andrew Foote: Civil War Admiral on Western Waters" (Tucker), "Confederate Commerce Raiders" (Campbell), "CSS Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads" (Quarstein), "Building the Ironclads" (Symonds) and "Battles of Mobile Bay" (Lewis). Registration forms will be available at the April meeting of the Richmond Civil War Round Table. The $95 seminar fee includes all lectures, materials, a box lunch and a ticket for the drawing of a naval Civil War print. Space in the seminar is available on a first paid, first registered basis. Forms must be received by May 5, no refunds after that date.
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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