R.Danny Witt, President Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
5500 Ashton Park Way 3901 Paces Ferry Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059 Chester, VA 23831-1239
July 2000 PROGRAM
Thomas G. Clemens
"Will the Real Iron Brigade Please Stand Up!"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 11, 2000
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
Enter basement door from Boulevard side.
This talk will offer some new information and challenges
many of the commonly held beliefs about the original Iron
Brigade. Offering some insight into how historians have
overlooked facts or accepted unsubstantiated memoirs for
many years, some surprising conclusions will emerge from the
dissecting of the story. Please keep an open mind and
prepare to be surprised.
Tom Clemens received his B.A. (1972) and M.A. (1984) in
history from Salisbury State University in Maryland and his
C.A.A. (1995) from George Mason University. He is
currently working on his doctoral dissertation with Dr.
Joseph Harsh of GMU. Tom has been on the faculty of
Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, Maryland, since
1986. He has published numerous book reviews and articles
related to the Civil War; most recently a book review
appeared on the Washington Times Civil War page.
In 1985 Tom, along with Dennis Frye, John Schildt, and
several other people, started Save Historic Antietam
Foundation, Inc., a non-profit preservation organization
dedicated to preserving and interpreting the sites relating
to Lee's Maryland Campaign of 1862. Since 1989, Tom has
served as the president of SHAF. In addition to these
activities, Tom has been a participant in the volunteer
living history programs with several national and state
Civil War parks for 22 years.
Tom and his wife, Mary Jo, are long time members of the
Hagerstown Civil War Round Table. Tom has served in every
office of the organization, and Mary Jo is the current
"The Lives of Douglas Southall Freeman"
Review of the June Program
David Johnson, who serves as counsel to the attorney general
of Virginia, presented a fascinating look at the life and
writings of one of Richmond's most famous citizens-Douglas
Southall Freeman. The presentation came from material that
Johnson has been collecting for a full biography which he
plans to complete in June of next year.
As a youngster, Freeman attended a re-enactment of the
Battle of the Crater on the 30th anniversary of that bloody
engagement. The old veterans impressed him so much that he
vowed to write the history of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Freeman's father was a veteran of the 4th Virginia Heavy
Artillery, and his stories also had an impact on the future
newspaperman, historian, and Pulitzer Prize winning author.
A second major influence on Freeman and his writing was the
very Southern education he received in Richmond, the former
capital of the Confederate States of America. Finally, he
was influenced by the older "scientific" approach to
history. Freeman actually despised the new "psycho-history"
that was becoming prominent at the end of the nineteenth
Freeman's first foray into the publishing world was A
Calendar of Confederate Papers, which appeared in 1908.
Seven years later, he edited Lee's Dispatches: Unpublished
Letters of General Robert E. Lee, CSA, to Jefferson Davis
and the War Department of the Confederate States of America,
1862 to 1865. In 1915, Charles Scribner's Sons contracted
with Freeman to produce a biography of Robert E. Lee. He
and the editors there sparred over the project for nineteen
years, as he expanded it from one to four volumes. When the
biography came out in 1934 and 1935, it was hugely
successful and won a Pulitzer Prize for its author. Although
the study has been the subject of criticism by a number of
Civil War historians in the past forty years, it remains the
starting place for anyone who wishes to come to grips with
the general's life.
Between 1942 and 1944, Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command
was published by Scribner's. This epic study of Lee and his
generals quickly became as popular as the biography. One
thing that the two works shared was Freeman's "fog of war"
technique of writing. He presented his story from the
prospective of what the commander of the Army of Northern
Virginia and his subordinates knew at the time. The next
project Freeman began was a biography of the nation's first
president, George Washington. This work appeared in 1948
and received a Pulitzer Prize in 1958.
Johnson pointed out that Freeman set up and largely adhered
to an extremely rigid schedule so that he could balance his
obligations to his family, the Richmond News Leader, his
radio broadcasts, and his research. Freeman's day began at
2 a.m. and usually ended before 9 p.m. His wife, Inez, and
children were very supportive. A strong conservative,
Freeman frequently found fault with Franklin D. Roosevelt's
New Deal programs and did not hesitate to criticize them. He
was pivotal in the development of Virginia's roadside
historical marker program and wrote the text for many of the
first signs. Freeman also played an important role in the
establishment of the Battle Abbey in Richmond. He died at
his home, "Westbourne," in 1953 at the age of 67 and was
buried in Hollywood Cemetery.
Richmond Civil War Visitor Center
Opens at Tredegar
On Saturday, June 17, the Richmond National Battlefield
Park's new Visitor Center opened in buildings of the former
Tredegar Iron Works next to the James River. Superintendent
Cynthia MacLeod welcomed those who attended the ceremonies
and introduced the guest speakers for the event. The latter
included U. S. Senator Charles S. Robb; Brenton S.
Halsey, Chairman of the Riverfront Management Corporation;
James E. Rogers, President of the Richmond Historic
Riverfront Foundation; Timothy M. Kaine, Mayor of the City
of Richmond; and Marie Rust, Regional Director for the
Northeast Region, NPS. Robert G. Stanton, Director of the
National Park Service made the keynote address. The Fort
Lee Military Band provided music for the occasion, and
members of Boy Scout Troops 815 of Chester served as the
The Visitor Center is located in the former Woolen Factory,
which burned in 1863 and was rebuilt as the Pattern
Building, and the exhibits are found on three different
floors of the structure. Visitors will see a mix of
artifacts, maps, dioramas, audio-visual programs, graphics,
and text that explain Richmond's pivotal role in the Civil
War. The story told is not just that of the military events
of that turbulent four-year period but includes the lives of
the citizens of the city, both black and white, free and
slave. Many of the artifacts on display are on loan from
other museums in the city. A self-guided tour allows
visitors to walk the grounds of the Iron Works and see some
of the cannon made there, as well as some surviving
machinery. Eastern National Park and Monument Association
operates a book and gift shop next to the Visitor Center.
Under New Management. Effective this issue, Art and Carol
Bergeron have become editors of the Newsletter. We welcome
submissions from the membership relative to special events,
tours, seminars, etc., and will consider placing them in the
Newsletter. All submissions should be sent to us at least
two weeks prior to a regular meeting. Members can use the
U. S. Postal Service or e-mail. Our home address appears
twice in this issue. For e-mail, send material to:
Performing Arts Program. Pamplin Historical Park & The
National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, near Petersburg,
will hold a "Civil War Performing Arts Fair" on Saturday,
September 16, 2000. This day of fun and music will feature
a brass ensemble, a fife and drum band, singers and
instrumentalists, and first person impressions of Jefferson
Davis and Frederick Douglass. For more information, call
Pamplin Historical Park at 861-2408.
*Important Notice* December Meeting
The December meeting will be December 12, 2000, at the
Holiday Inn-Crossroads, 2000 Staples Mill Road. Social hour
will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner following at 7 p.m. The
speaker is Ed Bearss who will speak on "The Raising of the
Cairo," which will include information about the history of
the Union ironclad. The cost for this program is $25.50 per
person. Seating is limited, so please get your reservations
Send your name, address, and phone number, along with the
number of persons for whom you are making reservations to
Sam Craghead. Make your check out to the Richmond Civil War
4361D Lakefield Mews
Richmond, VA 23231
If you have any questions, call Sam at 222-0503.
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter
Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
3901 Paces Ferry Road
Chester, VA 23831-1239