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April 2007
Bernard Fisher, President              Rob Monroe, Editor       
7300 Ann Cabell Lane                   2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Mechanicsville, VA 23111               Richmond, VA 23228-3040      

April 2007 PROGRAM William Marvel "The Road to Appomattox and Other Adventures in Iconoclasm" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 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. Bill Marvel is a native of Princess Anne County, Virginia, who is now a free-lance writer in South Conway, NH. Over the last 15 years, he has authored many books familiar to students of the Civil War, including Burnside; Andersonville: The Last Depot (recipient of the Douglas Southall Freeman Award and second place in the Lincoln Prize competition); The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor's Civil War; A Place Called Appomattox; and Lee's Last Retreat: The Flight to Appomattox. His first Civil War books were two New Hampshire unit histories and two books (The Battle of the Crater and Southwest Virginia in the Civil War: The Battles for Saltville) in the H. E. Howard's Virginia Battles and Leaders Series. His most recent work, Mr. Lincoln Goes to War, is the first of a projected four-volume history of the Civil War, primarily from the Union perspective. The second volume, The Arms of Abraham, will appear next year. Regardless of his subject, Marvel brings to his work not only dogged research skills, but also a highly-developed sense of skepticism. His iconoclasm is especially evident in his many articles, in which he routinely challenges "facts" that other historians have accepted uncritically. Among his other works in progress is a book tentatively entitled Rewriting the Civil War: The Making of a Revisionist Historian. His presentation to the Richmond Civil War Round Table will address his general approach to Civil War history but - appropriately for our April meeting - concentrate on the Appomattox Campaign. He will have several of his books, especially those related to Appomattox, available for sale at the meeting.
Summary of March Meeting Rick Hatcher, a Varina native working at Fort Sumter National Monument, spoke to the Richmond Civil War Round Table at the group's March meeting. In his presentation on Charleston during the Civil War, Hatcher noted that there were several important Virginians in the city at the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. Frank Collins of Fredericksburg was a seaman aboard the CSS Indian Chief and later made history as a crewmember who died on the Hunley. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard's staff included two natives of the Old Dominion. One of them, Thomas Jordan, had been Sherman's roommate at West Point. Another Virginian, D.B. Harris, was Beauregard's chief engineer. The Creole general praised Harris's work and claimed his engineer never made a mistake. In 1860, Fort Sumter was a construction site and was only 90% complete, Hatcher noted. He recounted the strange story of Lt. Richard K. Meade. A Virginian serving as a member of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, he was at Fort Sumter during the April 1861 bombardment. After the fort was surrendered, he was sent north, and -- when Virginia seceded -- he resigned. A mere one month after he had been under fire with the Federal army at Fort Sumter, Meade was working as an engineer in the Confederate army. Charleston was the most important seaport in the south, noted Hatcher, and was of great strategic importance during the Civil War. The fact that the first shells were fired at Fort Sumter made Charleston important symbolically as well. Naturally, possession of the city was of paramount importance to both the Confederacy and the Union. On April 7, 1863, the Federals launched an attack in Charleston Harbor, sending nine ironclads into the channel where dozens of Confederate guns were trained. In an intense two and a half hour battle, three of the Union vessels were disabled. One U.S. gunboat was hit 90 times. The Federals were repelled - at least temporarily. Three months later, the Siege of Charleston began. Lasting from July 10, 1863 until February 17, 1865, it was be the longest siege of the war. In a 59-day span, Union forces fired an average of over 500 rounds a day. In one particular week, Federal guns fired 552,000 pounds of ordinance, dismantling a wall of Fort Sumter in the process. On Christmas Day 1863, Union guns fired 134 rounds into the city of Charleston, heavily damaging some areas. In February 1865, the Confederate colors were lowered and they abandoned Ft. Sumter and Charleston after the city of Columbia fell to Sherman's forces.
April Events Did a massacre actually occur at Fort Pillow in 1864? At 2pm on Saturday, April 14, Brian Steel Wills, Professor of History at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, will examine the myths and realities of the Battle of Fort Pillow in Henning, Tennessee. Wills, author of The Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest, will explore all sides of the controversy in a presentation at Pamplin Historical Park & the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier. Visitors will be able to participate in a question and answer session after the presentation. For more information go to or call 1-877-PAMPLIN Richard Carwardine, author of the award-winning Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, will be at the University of Richmond's Jepson Alumni Center on Monday, April 16 at 7pm. He will lecture on key features of Lincoln's presidential leadership: his vision, strategic command, political management and techniques as a communicator. A reception and book signing will follow. For more information, email or call (804) 289- 8008 Blacksmithing demonstrations, a working 19th century photographic studio, and period music are just a few of the highlights of the 10th Annual Civil War Day, Saturday, April 28 at the Tredegar Ironworks. From 10am to 4pm the National Park Service and the American Civil War Center will present a day of living history activities, talks and tours, and artillery and musket firing demonstrations commemorating Richmond`s Civil War heritage. Young people can play period games, learn to drill like Civil War soldiers and talk one-on-one with the living history interpreters in camps. For more information call (804) 226-1981 ext. 30 Was Robert E. Lee a hero whose valor and leadership were surpassed only by his honor and humanity or a traitor whose military skill prolonged an immoral rebellion? The Sons of Confederate Veterans will host a Robert E. Lee Bicentennial Symposium on Saturday, April 28 at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington. Speakers include Robert K. Krick, Kent Masterson Brown and Thomas DiLorenzo among others. Space is limited. For more information or to register go to or call 1-800-MY SOUTH
CWPT Lists Endangered Sites Three Virginia sites are among America's ten most endangered battlefields according to the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT). At a March press conference, the group identified Cedar Creek, Petersburg and battlefields in the Piedmont region of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, as being threatened. Other sites on the list are Harper's Ferry, WV; Gettysburg, PA; Spring Hill, TN; Fort Morgan, AL; Iuka, MS; Marietta, GA and forts in New Orleans. The major threat to the Cedar Creek site, according to the CWPT, comes from the possible expansion of nearby mining operations that could create five new quarries on the core battlefield. The CWPT is also concerned that the rapid expansion of Fort Lee will have a detrimental impact on the adjacent Petersburg battlefield. The group also stated that a proposed route for new power lines in Northern Virginia would affect some 48,000 acres of land protected under preservation easements, including seven Civil War battlefields. The CWPT also recognized the Museum of the Confederacy as one of 2007's most endangered sites under a newly created designation, "Museum Under Siege." According to the CWPT, although not a battlefield, the museum and the adjacent White House of the Confederacy "are as endangered as any battleground in the U.S.," and are "literally being strangled" by the neighboring medical complex of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Bus Filling Up for June Field Trip The bus for our annual field trip is rapidly filling up. Only 20 seats are left. Make your reservation now and don't miss out on a great trip. This year's trip is scheduled for June 2 and will visit the Southern section of the Fredericksburg battlefield where some of the most significant fighting took place. Join tour leader Frank O'Reilly and follow Meade's advance against Jackson's line on Prospect Hill. Included in the tour will be the Slaughter Pen Farm, which has recently been preserved by the Civil War Preservation Trust. RCWRT members will be among the first visitors to tour this site, which has only limited access at this time. You should be prepared for plenty of walking and you will need to bring your own lunch. We will travel to Fredericksburg via bus, leaving the James River Bus Lines parking lot at 915 N. Allen Street (between Leigh and Broad streets), at 8am and return to that location at 5pm. The trip costs $25 per person. Reserve your seat today by completing the following form and sending it along with your check (payable to RCWRT) to: Ed Wooldridge 13700 Lintel Lane Midlothian, VA 23113 Name _______________________________________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________________ City _________________________________ State ______ Zip ____________ Phone number and/or email address __________________________________ Number of seats requested ___ X $25 each = $ ________ Total payment If you have any questions, please contact Ed Wooldridge via phone at 804-897-9840, or e-mail:
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2007
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Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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