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June 2007 PROGRAM David J. Coles "The Smallest Tadpole: A Photographic History of Florida in the Civil War" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 12, 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. Most Virginians have difficulty coming to terms with "Florida in the Civil War." The difficulty arises from thinking of Florida as Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The Florida that counted in the 1860s was very different. It was Jacksonville and the St. Johns River valley, the horse country around Gainesville and Lake City, and the panhandle region that topographically resembles southern Georgia. Although sparsely populated, it provided infantry brigades to the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee. One historian has termed Florida as "the storehouse of the Confederacy." A contemporary journalist denounced it as "The Smallest Tadpole in the Dirty Pool of Secession." Dr. David J. Coles is uniquely qualified to introduce Virginians to thetrich and forgottn historyerof Civil War Florida. He is associate professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Longwood University. Many Virginians know him as the organizer of the successful Longwood University/Appomattox Court House National Historic Park Annual Civil War Seminar held in March. Coles lived most of his life in Florida and earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. at Florida State University and worked as an archivist at the Florida State Archives. He has written dozens of articles and papers on aspects of the Civil War, Florida, and American military history, including the indispensable 6-volume work, Biographical Roster of Florida's Confederate and Union Soldiers, of which he was associate editor. His co-authored book on Italians in the American Civil War will be published shortly. His program will consist of images relating to Florida's role in the conflict, including military operations within the state and the service of Florida soldiers in the major armies of the eastern and western theaters.
Virginia Historical Society Obtains Lee Collection The Virginia Historical Society (VHS) is known for its rare and nationally significant collections, but those collections recently enjoyed a major addition. For the past three years, VHS archivists have been inventorying and cataloging the contents of two wooden trunks found in 2002 at Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Company in Alexandria. These trunks, discovered by Robert E. L. deButts, Jr. and E. Hunt Burke, contained letters, legal papers, journals, travel souvenirs, financial records, and smaller artifacts that were collected by Mary Custis Lee, the eldest daughter of Robert E. Lee. Since his death, researchers have lamented that the general never wrote a memoir. This collection contains numerous letters and notes in the hand of Robert E. Lee reflecting on his long career. The VHS, which has been selected by the heirs of Mary Custis Lee as stewards of this collection, will add these previously unknown items to what is already the largest holding of Lee family papers in any single repository. And, to the delight of many Civil War and Lee historians, the VHS has made the majority of the collection available to researchers through the Society's library reading room. "In my nearly twenty years as president and CEO of the Virginia Historical Society, there have been few moments as spectacular as the discovery of the Mary Custis Lee trunks stored for 84 years at Burke & Herbert Bank," Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr. said. VHS Senior Archivist Lee Shepard noted, "The Society would like to develop educational programs and exhibitions using the Lee papers by 2011 to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War."
Museum of the Confederacy Announces Award Winners The Museum of the Confederacy has announced the recipients of its 2007 literary awards competition. The winner of the Jefferson Davis Award for outstanding narrative on the Confederate period is Dr. Eric H. Walther, professor of history at the University of Houston, for William Lowndes Yancey and the Coming of the Civil War. An authority on antebellum Southern politics and author of two previous books, Walther reveals Yancey's transformation from a staunch nationalist and opponent of secession to one of the most well-known Southern "fireeaters" who proved to be troublesome for the nation he helped to inspire. The award judges praised both his deep research and engaging and insightful profile of a complex man. The Founders Award for excellence in editing of primary source documents on the Confederate period is awarded to Dr. Kimberly Harrison, an associate professor of English at Florida International University, for A Maryland Bride in the Deep-South: The Civil War Diary of Priscilla Bond. Harrison's skillful editing and use of detailed maps and guides to characters and places impressed the three-judge panel for providing a portal into the private lives of mid-19th century Southern women. The museum's Jefferson Davis and Founders Awards were established in 1970.
June Events Calendar The Richmond Battlefields Association will hold its annual meeting on Saturday, June 9, at Drewry's Bluff (Fort Darling), eight miles south of Richmond in Chesterfield County. Robert E.L. Krick will lead a walking tour of the site giving special emphasis to subjects and locations not commonly addressed by the on-site interpretation. The RBA's annual meeting will follow the tour. The event begins at 10am and last about two hours. It is free to all, including non-members. For more information, email email@example.com At 2pm on Saturday, June 16, the American Civil War Center will host a program by living historians representing Knibb's Confederate Battery. They will tell the story of the Tredegar Battalion, a wartime Richmond militia unit composed of workers from the Tredegar iron works. For more information, go to www.tredegar.org The Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville is one of the few Confederate hospital buildings restored to its Civil War appearance. The building now houses a Civil War Medical and Hospital Museum. During the war the hospital received over 70,000 Confederate and Federal sick and wounded. The museum will host a reenactment and living history weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17. Pre-registration is required to enjoy the free meal but walk-ons are welcome. For more information contact Ron Sanders at ColWHTaylor@crucialisp.com or call (540) 672-4482. The museum may be reached at (540) 832-2944. Pamplin Historical Park will host its largest event of the year, Civil War Weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24. In addition to artillery and small arms demonstrations, there will be interaction with soldiers in camp, period music and a Civil War-era magician. Authors James Robbins (Last in Their Class: Custer, Pickett, and the Goats of West Point) and Eileen M. Patch (This from George: Civil War Letters of Sergeant George Magusta Englis 1861-1865) will be on hand. For more information go to www.pamplinpark.org At 2pm on Sunday, June 24, reporter and editor Andrew Ferguson be at the American Civil War Center to discuss his new book. Land of Lincoln is a curiosity-fueled coast-to-coast journey through contemporary Lincoln Nation. With a mix of presidential biography and popular history, Ferguson has produced a humorous yet poignant look at Abraham Lincoln and his place in America today. A book sale and signing will follow the program. For more information, go to www.tredegar.org
Civil War Book Review Interviews Freehling Civil War Book Review is an online journal of new or newly reprinted books about the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras. The journal is posted quarterly and the current (Spring 2007) issue has an interview with our May 2007 speaker, William Freehling, and a review of his latest book. The Civil War Book Review and is a project of the United States Civil War Center, Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections and can be accessed at www.cwbr.com
Railings Stolen from Petersburg Monument On May 10 it was discovered that a person or persons had driven away with 22 historic railings which surrounded the Pennsylvania Monument on Wakefield Street in Petersburg. The railings, made of bronze, measure seven to eight feet in length and three to four inches in diameter. Of all the monuments in this historic city, the Pennsylvania Monument was the only one to be dedicated in the presence of a United States President, William Howard Taft. On May 19, 1909 President Taft attended the dedication ceremony along with veterans of Pennsylvania regiments who fought in the Battle of Fort Stedman on March 25, 1865 as well as the assault on Confederate Fort Mahone on April 2, 1865. The Pennsylvania veterans, who were members of the Third Division of the Ninth Corps, were escorted by the local chapter of the United Confederate Veterans, namely the A.P. Hill Camp. A $500 reward is being offered to anyone who offers information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s). Anyone who has any knowledge or information regarding this theft is requested to call the Ranger Station at Petersburg National Battlefield at (804) 732-3966 or Park Ranger Richard Hotchkiss at (804) 691-4786. Information can also be submitted to the Petersburg Police Department at (804) 732-4222.
Spring Tour of Fredericksburg a Rousing Success The Richmond Civil War Round Table wishes to thank Ed Wooldridge for organizing our spring tour of the Fredericksburg battlefield. Our guide, Frank O'Reilly, gave us a highly informative and entertaining tour of the crucial southern end of the battlefield including the "Slaughter Pen." We were the first tour group to walk along this important 200+ acre tract being purchased by the Civil War Preservation Trust. Kudos Ed!
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