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April 2009
Edward J. Wooldridge, Pres.            Rob Monroe, Editor       
13700 Lintel Lane                      2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Midlothian, VA 23113                   Richmond, VA 23228-3040              

April 2009 Program Professor Mark Grimsley "The Partnership That Wasn't: Grant, Meade, and the Overland Campaign" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 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. The Overland campaign of 1864 is universally regarded as a duel between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, with the Army of the Potomac commonly tagged "Grant's army." Yet the head of that army was not Grant--who as general in chief commanded all Union forces--but George Gordon Meade. In theory Grant simply co-located his headquarters with Meade. In practice, however, he soon supervised Meade's army so closely that his staff suggested he dispense with Meade and assume direct command. Grant rejected the suggestion and Meade remained in charge until the end of the war. Despite their near continuous interaction, the two generals never developed a close rapport. Why not? And in the absence of a strong working relationship, did the arrangement make good military sense? At our April meeting, Professor Mark Grimsley will address these questions and in the process, explore the nature of senior leadership. An associate professor at The Ohio State University, Grimsley teaches military and 19th century American history. He currently holds the Harold K. Johnson Chair of Military History at the U.S. Army War College. His first book, The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865, shared the 1996 Lincoln Prize for the best Civil War book published in 1995. Grimsley is the author of numerous books and battlefield guides on Gettysburg and Shiloh. He has won three teaching awards, including the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, Ohio State's highest award for excellence in the classroom. His website,, deals with military history and features an award-winning blog.
VHS Receives Civil War Drawings As the Commonwealth prepares for the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War in 2011, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) has made a dramatic addition to its already impressive Civil War collection. Two decades after requesting that a collection of Civil War drawings by Edwin Forbes be given to the VHS, the current owner donated the entire group. Some of the original pen-and-ink illustrations will be included in An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia, an exhibition organized by the VHS for the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. This exhibition will travel around the state after opening at the society in 2011. In 1862 John Edwin Forbes was hired as an illustrator for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. From 1862 to 1864, he was a member of "Bohemian Brigade," the name given to reporters who followed northern armies into battle in the South. Forbes spent two-and-a-half years in Virginia, traveling mostly with the Army of the Potomac, documenting camp life. Forbes completed more than 300 sketches drawn in the field. These pencil sketches are at the Library of Congress. After the war, Forbes created pen-in-ink illustrations from his sketches. In 1889, Forbes produced a book, Thirty Years After: An Artist's Memoir of the Civil War, with almost all of his pen-in-ink drawings. Over 150 of the original illustrations featured in the book have been donated to the VHS from Connecticut resident William Berkley. "This gift couldn't have come at a better time because the society is playing a large role in preparing the state's Civil War 150th exhibition," said VHS Director of Museums James Kelly. An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia, an exhibition organized by the Virginia Historical Society and funded, in part, by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, will be on display at the VHS from February 4 to December 30, 2011. After leaving the VHS, the exhibition travels to museums in Manassas, Roanoke, Appomattox, Winchester, Hampton, Abingdon, and Lynchburg.
Conference Examines America in 1859 On April 29, the University of Richmond will host the first in a series of annual Signature Conferences sponsored by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. Dr. Edward L. Ayers, UR President, will bring together nationally-recognized Civil War historians for an open dialogue about the state of the country in 1859. "America on the Eve of the Civil War" brings a fresh perspective on enduring issues. The program will be conducted in an interactive format with speakers from varied perspectives. Akin to news programs like "Face the Nation" and "Meet the Press," speakers will discuss events of 1859 and their effect, limiting themselves only to what would have been known at that time. The focus of the conference will be the situation in the United States in what turned out to be the eve of the Civil War, including central events and changes of the late antebellum era. Scheduled topics include Taking Stock of the Nation in 1859, The Future of Virginia and the South, Making Sense of John Brown's Raid, and Predictions for the Election of 1860. This day-long conference is free to the public, but seating is limited and registration is required. For more information or to register, go to
Construction of Appomattox Museum Set for Next Year The Museum of the Confederacy has selected the architect and exhibit designer for the new museum system site at Appomattox. Architectural firm Carlton Abbott and Partners and Haley Sharpe Design Limited have been selected by the museum's board of trustees as the building and exhibit designers respectively. The Museum of the Confederacy Appomattox will be located at the intersection of Highway 460 bypass and Route 24. Construction is set to begin in early 2010 and the museum site will open to kick off the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in the spring of 2011. "We are excited to have such incredible talents working with us to ensure that the Museum of the Confederacy - Appomattox will be of the highest quality in both its building and its exhibit design," stated museum president and CEO, S. Waite Rawls III. "The team will provide the most innovative and creative ways to bring our incredible collection of artifacts to life, putting a very human face on the facts and figures of history."
Reservations Now Being Accepted for RCWRT Tour The Richmond Civil War Round Table will have its annual bus tour on Saturday, June 6. This year we will examine the Culpeper area during the war. Our daylong trip will leave from Mary Munford Elementary School at 7:30 a.m. en route to Kelly's Ford. We will enjoy lunch at the Graffiti House, then ride to the battlefield at Brandy Station in the afternoon. The bus will return to Richmond at 5 p.m. We are proud to announce that Greg Mertz, a longtime historian with the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, will be our guide. His area of expertise, the cavalry, will be an emphasis of this tour. Cost of the trip is $25 per person and payments are now being accepted. You may mail your check to: David Whitehead 4305 Cary St. Rd. Richmond, VA 23221
Three Virginia Battlefields Make "Most Endangered" List The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) recently unveiled its annual report on the status of the nation's historic battlegrounds. The report, History Under Siege: A Guide to America's Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields, identifies the most threatened grounds and what can be done to save them. Three Virginia battlefields - Cedar Creek, New Market Heights and the Wilderness - are listed in the report. Other endangered battlefields noted in the list are Monocacy, Maryland; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; South Mountain, Maryland; Port Gibson, Mississippi; Sabine Pass, Texas; Spring Hill, Tennessee and Fort Gaines, Alabama. Cedar Creek is today threatened by the expansion of a limestone mining operation on core battlefield land. At the Wilderness, preservationists are facing an uphill battle to stop Walmart from building a new 138,000-square foot supercenter across Route 3 from the battlefield. New Market Heights is completely at the mercy of development with no land protected by preservation organizations. Some significant potions of the battlefield have already been destroyed by a housing development.
Upcoming Events Cannon firing and period music are just a few of the highlights of the 12th Annual Civil War Day at Tredegar Ironworks on Saturday, April 25. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature living history demonstrations throughout the day. Young people can play 19th century children's games, tour the camps, learn to drill like Civil War soldiers and talk one-on-one with the living history interpreters. Also on Saturday, April 25, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Museum of the Confederacy will host "First Ladies of the Civil War." Visitors will learn about the interesting lives of Varina Howell Davis and Mary Todd Lincoln in this informative program. Participants will hear a lecture on the lives of the First Ladies and the ups and downs of their marriages. The program will be followed by a guided tour of the White House of the Confederacy and a special behind-the-scenes collections tour featuring items that belonged to Varina Davis and her family.
A Change is Gonna Come You're likely to notice a considerable change in the newsletter in the coming months. For starters, beginning in May, Gary Cowardin will take over the responsibilities for producing the bulletin. If you've visited the Round Table's website,, you've already seen Gary's talent on display. He's been our webmaster since we first went online in 1999. We greatly appreciate Gary's willingness to take on this added role. Other changes will be addressed at the April meeting. Gary's E-mail address is: There's not enough space for me to list the many people who have helped me immensely with the newsletter in the past six years. Forgive me as I drag out the dusty old clich‚: I couldn't have done it without you. Many thanks and I look forward to seeing you again each month at our meetings.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2009
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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