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June 2008
John Coski, President                  Rob Monroe, Editor       
5028 King William Road                 2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Richmond, VA 23225                     Richmond, VA 23228-3040            

June 2008 PROGRAM Craig L. Symonds "Lincoln and his Admirals" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 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. President Abraham Lincoln had barely taken the oath of office when the Civil War broke out. Though he lacked technical military knowledge, Lincoln grew quickly into the job as Commander in Chief. Our June speaker Dr. Craig L. Symonds will share with us what he believes were the keys to Lincoln's emergence as a wartime commander. Using examples from the president's management of the U.S. Navy, including his handling of the Trent Affair, Dr. Symonds will suggest that Lincoln often employed a management strategy of avoiding decision making until circumstances dictated a solution. The presentation also will focus on Lincoln's supporting cast in the area of naval operations: Gideon Welles, Gus Fox, David Farragut, David Dixon Porter, Samuel Francis DuPont and Charles Wilkes. According to Dr. Symonds, Lincoln preferred a hands-off management role. Once he found a command team he trusted, he backed off and let that team run the war. However, there were times when he got deeply involved in planning combined operations. "Lincoln and his Admirals" is the subject of research Dr. Symonds did for a new book on the subject that is due out this fall. He is the author of ten other books, including prize-winning biographies of Joseph E. Johnston, Patrick Cleburne, and Franklin Buchanan. He is Professor Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy, from which he retired in 2005.
RBA Announcements The Richmond Battlefields Association (RBA) will hold its annual meeting and tour on Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year's events will take place at White House Landing, an almost forgotten place of supreme historical importance. Used by Native Americans for centuries, this site on the Pamunkey River now sits across the shore from today's Pamunkey Indian reservation. It was settled and farmed by colonist John Custis. He left a wealthy widow, Martha, who here met, married and honeymooned with an up-and-coming Virginia Militia officer named George Washington. White House Farm passed through the Custis family to Robert E. Lee's son, Rooney. Father and son both toiled here to restore the plantation to profitability. Mrs. R.E. Lee spent much of the early days of the war here until it was occupied by the Union Army of the Potomac. It was a key component of McClellan's 1862 Peninsula Campaign to take Richmond. The home "White House" was burned by Federal troops during the "Change of Base." The home that Rooney Lee rebuilt on the foundation was also lost to fire in the late 19th century. Today only the foundation and a springhouse remain. This is a rare opportunity to soak up centuries of American history at this privately-held site. Speakers will include Jim Harris, Robert K. Krick, and Robert E. Lee Krick. This event is open to the general public and the RBA recommends bringing a lawn chair and picnic lunch. So they may plan appropriately, the RBA asks attendees to please RSVP at this link: Directions to 9980 Rockahock Bar Road in New Kent can be found on the RBA website: The RBA is aggressively collecting the Ukrop's Golden Gift certificates again this year. The RBA kindly requests anyone looking for a deserving home for their certificates to bring them to the June 10 meeting where Dave West will be collecting them. The deadline for the RBA to turn them in for cash is June 14, so this is the last opportunity. You may also mail your certificates to: Dave West 88 West Square Drive Richmond, VA 23238
Library of Virginia to Host Lectures Caroline E. Janney will be at the Library of Virginia on Thursday, June 12 to discuss and sign Burying the Dead but Not the Past. Her new book restores the place of southern white women as central to the Lost Cause Movement as the creators and purveyors of Confederate tradition between 1865 and 1915. In Virginia alone, these Ladies' Memorial Associations relocated and reinterred the remains of more than 72,000 soldiers, nearly 28% of the 260,000 Confederate soldiers who perished in the war. Janney argues that in identifying themselves as mothers and daughters in mourning, LMA members crafted a sympathetic Confederate position that Republicans, northerners, and, in some cases, southern African Americans, could find palatable. This free lecture begins at noon in the Library's conference rooms. On Saturday evening, June 28, two-time Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman and leading underwater archaeologist Daniel Lenihan will discuss Escape from Andersonville: A Novel of the Civil War. Their third co-authored book is a meticulously researched and explosive story of one man's escape from the notorious Confederate prison camp-and his dramatic return to save his men. The event is free but reservations are required by calling (804)692-3813 by June 24
New Exhibition Takes a Look at the Common Soldier The average Confederate soldier spent more time fighting disease than fighting the enemy. Of the approximately 260,000 Confederate soldiers who died-166,000 of those died from disease. The Museum of the Confederacy recently opened "Between the Battles," a new exhibit that explores the personal items of the common soldier and the hard life of "Johnny Reb." The uniforms, flags, personal possessions and letters of common Confederate soldiers will be on display to bring light to what soldier life was like in camp, away from battle. The Museum of the Confederacy was founded to preserve all of the icons of the Confederacy, not just those of the famous generals. Robert Hancock, Director of Collections and the curator for the exhibition, stated, "It affords us the opportunity to talk about the Confederate soldier as a person, with all the attendant hopes, fears and desires, and not just another nameless statistic on a casualty list. And you'll hear their stories from the soldiers themselves, as much of the label copy consists of quotes taken directly from soldiers' letters and diaries." Some of the artifacts on display will tell the stories of the individual men who fought for the freedom of the South. These stories tell the personal side of the Civil War. Private Thomas Parks Gooch was 19 when he joined Co. C of the 20th Mississippi Infantry in June 1861. He was captured twice-at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, and Edwards Ferry, Mississippi-and spent more than two years in U.S. prison camps. Gooch survived the war and was paroled from Fort Delaware in June 1865. The exhibit will also display items from daily life in camp, including playing cards and games, items from a haversack, letters between soldiers and their families, and musical instruments such as the violin and case that belonged to Pvt. Joseph Long Harris of Co. I, 32nd Georgia Infantry. Hancock explained that "This exhibit gives us the chance to display items from the Museum's rich collection of artifacts that do not always fit well into our battles and leaders style exhibit, 'The Confederate Years.'" Hancock hopes that museum patrons will identify with the common soldiers and "come away from the exhibit with a better understanding of (as one Confederate soldier put it) 'what a soldier has to encounter with.'"
Pamplin Park Hosts Civil War Weekend Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier are inviting history enthusiasts and families alike to the 12th annual Civil War Weekend on Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22. This year's event will enable visitors to experience tactical, artillery, and small arms demonstrations. Guests may participate in an 1860s baseball game, and learn how the rules have changed. Attendees will have an opportunity to see how communication and medicine have drastically changed by exploring telegraphs and 19th-century medical procedures. There will be blacksmith demonstrations, Civil War-era music by The 97th Regimental String Band, and a mortar-firing competition between Union and Confederate re-enactors. David Jones, author of Two Brothers, will discuss his book about the Prentiss brothers who fought on opposite sides during the breakthrough battle of April 2, 1865. The Park's daily general admission prices, $15 for adults, $13.50 for military with ID and seniors 62+, and $9 for children ages 6-12, include admission to Civil War Weekend. The Park is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 22. All activities associated with the two-day event will take place at the Park's Hart Farm events area off Duncan Road, Route 670.
UR Course to Study Gordon and Chamberlain This summer, the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies will offer a course that explores the lives of Generals Joshua L. Chamberlain and John B. Gordon. "Two American Civil War Heroes: Lives That Counted" will be taught by current Richmond Civil War Round Table member and former Chief of Military History, U.S. Army BG (Ret) John W. Mountcastle. Many fascinating personal stories came out of the Civil War, but perhaps none more interesting than the saga of two young men; one from Maine, the other from Georgia. While neither had been trained as a soldier, they both volunteered to serve. Each was a heroic battlefield leader, suffered serious wounds, and survived to rise to great heights during and after the war. This short course (2 lectures) will focus upon the extraordinary accomplishments of Generals Joshua L. Chamberlain of Maine, and John B. Gordon of Georgia. Their stories are amazing not only because of who they were and what they accomplished, but by their almost mystical connections as 19th century American heroes. Classes will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. on consecutive Monday nights, July 14 and July 21. Fee for this course is $79. Call the School of Continuing Studies at (804) 289-8133 to request a copy of the Think Again catalog for the 2008 summer session or register online by visiting the SCS website at
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2008
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Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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©R.C.W.R.T. 2008