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

May 2003 PROGRAM Ervin L. Jordan, Jr. "History's Heretics: Afro-Confederates and the American Civil War" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 13, 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. Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., is a research archivist and the University of Virginia's Records Manager. He specializes in Civil War and African-American history and is the author of three books: 19th Virginia Infantry (1987), Charlottesville and the University of Virginia in the Civil War (1988), and Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia (University Press of Virginia, 1995). The latter earned him a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Fellowship as a scholar-in-residence. Black Confederates, a History Book Club selection, was named by Publisher's Weekly as one of 1995's best non-fiction books and cited as one of the 1,100 most important Civil War books in David J. Eicher's The Civil War in Books: An Analytical Bibliography (University of Illinois Press, 1997). His Charlottesville book remains the only single-volume scholarly history of the city, Albemarle County, and the University during the War Between the States. He has addressed several distinguished round tables, including the Civil War Round Table of Chicago (the nation's oldest); the Civil War Round Table of Milwaukee (the nation's second oldest); the Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia; the Lynchburg Civil War Round Table; the Rockbridge Civil War Round Table; and the Waynesboro Civil War Round Table. Professor Jordan is a member of the Advisory Committee on African-American Interpretation at Monticello, the Founders Award Committee (Museum of the Confederacy), and is also a state officeholder by virtue of appointments by three governors to the State Historical Records Advisory Board (1996) and the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (1997) with reappointments to both boards by Governor Mark Warner in 2002. Jordan resides with his wife Lorraine in Charlottesville.
Review of the April Program
DeAnne Blanton
DeAnne Blanton gave a lively and informative presentation on "They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War." She used slides of wartime and postwar images to show those in attendance what some of these women looked like. Blanton said that she first became interested in the topic by accident. While doing research for a patron, she found an old file labeled "Women Soldiers." Kept by a War Department clerk early in the 20th century, the folder contained various notes and newspaper clippings. Blanton and Lauren Cook later collaborated to write a book that was published last year by Louisiana State University Press. The most famous woman in the Confederate army was Loreta Velazquez. She was also the most vilified. Velazquez published her memoirs in 1876 because she desperately needed money for herself and her family. An early critic of her story was former general Jubal Early. Blanton acknowledged that most modern historians have written that Velazquez could not have done everything she claimed but said that about 75 percent of her story can be verified. Mary A. Brown enlisted with her husband in the 31st Maine Infantry in December 1864. Her identity was discovered the following month, but she was allowed to stay with the regiment as a nurse. Brown died in 1936. Frances Clayton was the most photographed of the women soldiers; four images of her have survived. Though from Minnesota, she enlisted with her husband in a Missouri cavalry unit. Her husband was killed at Stone's River, and Clayton confessed her sex and left the army after the battle. She then returned home. Besides Velasquez, the only woman who wrote a memoir of her service was Sara Emma Edmonds. Her book, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army, was published during the war. Edmonds was from Canada but had moved to Michigan. She enlisted as Franklin Thompson in the 2nd Michigan Infantry. Some men in her company knew that she was a woman but did not reveal her secret. Edmonds became the regimental mail carrier. After recovering from malaria contracted while on the Peninsula in 1862, she became an orderly to Brigadier General Orlanda Poe at Fredericksburg. Edmonds became sick again after her regiment was transferred to the Western Theater. She deserted in Kentucky and went to live with friends in Ohio. Edmonds sought a pension after the war and was able to obtain testimonials from her former comrades while at a regimental reunion. Congress dismissed the desertion charges against her as a result. Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was the only woman soldier whose letters have survived. She enlisted as Lyons Wakeman in the 153rd New York Infantry. Blanton said that Wakeman had lived and worked as a man prior to the war. Her letters to her parents were preserved by the family and have been published. Wakeman became sick after the Red River Campaign and died of dysentery in a New Orleans hospital. How many women served as soldiers during the war? Blanton said that she doesn't know and that we will never know because only the ones who were discovered during the war or revealed themselves afterward have been identified. Her book documents 240 women. Of that number, three were black, although one passed as a white man. Seventy percent of these women served in the Union army, with 30 percent in the Confederate army. Blanton believes that there were many more women in the Confederate army than have been discovered. By 1864, the Confederates had stopped sending women home, and many women had stopped pretending to be men. Women soldiers served in virtually every large engagement of the Civil War.
May 17-18 Richmond National Battlefield Park will present an anniversary program at Drewry's Bluff featuring tours, discussions, special displays and naval living history. Information: or 804-226-1981.
May 17-18 Fort Pocahontas in Charles City County will be the site of tours, military demonstrations and reenactments of the Confederate attack against Wilson's Wharf on the James River. The fort will be open from 9 am to 4 pm each day with battles at 1 pm. Saturday night's events include a dance and artillery firing. Information: or 804-829-9722.
May 23 The Museum of the Confederacy will open a new exhibition, "The Confederate Nation". Using its extensive collection of artifacts, documents and photographs the museum will take a new look into the government and people of the Confederacy. Information: or 804-649-1861.
May 24-26 Pamplin Historical Park will feature a living history program, "With Spade and Shovel: Building Civil War Earthworks". Special events will focus on the Confederate Engineering Corps. Information: or 1-877-PAMPLIN.
May 26 The Richmond and Petersburg areas will host several Memorial Day events. The remains of three unknown Union soldiers will be laid to rest with military honors at Poplar Grove National Cemetery in Petersburg at 11 am. Information: or 804-732-3531. Richmond National Battlefield Park and the Veterans Administration will hold a special memorial program at noon in the Fort Harrison National Cemetery on Varina Road. Information: or 804-226-1981. At 1 pm, a new Civil War Trails marker will be dedicated in Petersburg on Graham Road at the rear entrance to Cameron Field. At 3 pm Blandford Cemetery will be the site of a Memorial Day service featuring speakers, re-enactors and period music. For information on these events log on to or contact Jerry Wright at 804-526-2651.
May 31 Four Civil War authors will be featured at a noon luncheon at historic Hanover Tavern on Rt. 301. Robert E.L. Krick, Gordon Rhea, Ann McMillan and Michael Varhola will be on hand to discuss their books. The $20 fee includes lunch and a tour of the 18th-century tavern. For reservations call 804-537-5050.
May 31-June 1 Richmond National Battlefield Park will conduct its popular anniversary program at Cold Harbor. Tours, demonstrations and living history will take place throughout the weekend. Saturday night events include period music and candlelight tours. Information: or 804-226-1981.
Richmond Battlefields Association Seeks Your Help The Richmond Battlefields Association (RBA) is looking for volunteers to help clear a trail on land the RBA recently purchased at Fort Harrison. The association would like the trail to be ready for its annual tour and meeting to be held Saturday, June 14. Other events that day include a talk and book signing by Dr. Richard Sommers, author of Richmond Redeemed. The RBA is hoping to raise funds by participating in the Ukrop's Golden Gift certificate program. Ukrop's will be mailing certificates to customers in early May. In the following weeks the RBA will try to collect as many of these certificates as possible. The association will receive a donation by turning these certificates back in to Ukrop's. The amount of the donation will be determined by the number of certificates collected. You can help support the RBA by bringing your certificates to the May or June meetings of the RCWRT. You may also mail your certificates to: David West 88 West Square Dr. Richmond, VA 23233 The RBA is a non-profit organization working to preserve local battlefields. Information about the association may be found its website,
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: 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