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July 2011 -
David Whitehead, Pres.                 Gary Cowardin, Editor    
4305 Cary Street Rd.                   1404 Lorraine Ave.       
Richmond, VA 23221                     Richmond, VA 23227-3735          

Earl J. Hess Overland to Appomattox: Field Fortifications in Virginia, 1864-1865 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 12, 2011, at the First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA., 4602 Cary Street Road, 23226 A parking lot is available behind the church with an entrance off the parking lot to the left and down a few stairs. Anyone who has ever stumbled across ghostly entrenchments in some Hanover County forest, studied the effective use of terrain along the North Anna, marveled at the trench lines at Cold Harbor, or walked among the remnants of forts and redoubts near Petersburg will want to attend our meeting on July 12th. We are very fortunate to have, as our speaker, Dr. Earl Hess. He will share with us some of his findings concerning the tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by the Blue and the Gray as they grappled with each other from the Wilderness to Petersburg and beyond. No historian has done more to explain the reasons for the large scale use of field fortifications during the final year of the Civil War. We will all benefit from this presentation by a true expert on the subject. Dr. Earl J. Hess has been a student of Civil War history since he was a teenager, growing up in rural Missouri. He completed his B.A. and M.A. degrees in History at Southeast Missouri State University. His Ph.D. in American Studies, with a concentration in History, was awarded by Purdue University in 1986. He has taught at a number of institutions, including the University of Georgia, Texas Tech University, and the University of Arkansas. Since 1989, he has been at Lincoln Memorial University, in Harrogate, Tennessee, where he is Associate Professor of History, director of the History Program, and holds the Stewart McClelland Chair. Dr. Hess has published twelve books, twenty-three articles, and more than 100 book reviews. Among his publications are a number of well-received studies on the use of field fortifications during the Civil War. Round Table members will be familiar with many of the titles of his books. Among them are Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War: The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864 (2005), Trench Warfare under Grant and Lee: Field Fortifications in the Overland Campaign (2007), In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat (2009), and Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg (2010). He is also the author of The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth (2008). Dr. Hess is married to Dr. Pratibha Dabholkar, who is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Tennessee. Be sure to come early to get a good seat. Meeting Attendance: June 2011 = 91 NOTE: Please put on your NAME BADGE on when you arrive for the meeting. (They will be on a table near the back or side of the room.)
A Word from Our President Welcome to summer! Our July RCWRT meeting is near - July 12. Jack has provided another excellent speaker - Earl Hess. Please bring a friend and enjoy the talk. Don't forget the books to bring and sell to others for $5-10. I hope all are learning during our Sesquicentennial. David Whitehead, Pres. RCWRT
2011 RCWRT FIELD TRIP We had our annual field trip Saturday, June 18, 2011, visiting the new USS Monitor Center at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, the Monitor-Merrimack Overlook Park, and Drewry's Bluff. We were met by Anna Holloway, our May Speaker, who passed us over to one of their great historians who helped us start our tour. A salad, three kinds of fresh sandwiches, and cookies were served for lunch in a quiet private room in the Museum. During the tour we were able to walk around a full size mockup of the Monitor and its turret. The real one is nearby in a tank undergoing an electrolysis process. After leaving the museum we rode over to the Monitor-Merrimack Overlook Park where we were able to get out and walk along the shore and pier. After the park we loaded the van and headed to Drewry's Bluff. We left the parking lot at 8:07am and returned at 6:01pm right on time!
Book Report A Glorious Army By Jeffry Wert At first glance I expected this book to be a repeat of the same old civil war history of the Army of Northern Virginia, but thankfully I took a closer look and was very pleasantly surprised. From the time Robert E. Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia on June 1, 1862, until the Battle of Gettysburg thirteen months later, the Confederate army compiled a record of military achievement unparalleled in our nation's history. By following the armies, the leaders and the men themselves Jeffry Wert has compiled a very readable, informative history of the Army of Northern Virginia and the civil war. From Seven Days to Second Manassas, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg Wert not only follows the armies onto the field of battle, but offers fresh assessments of Lee and his top commanders Longstreet, Jackson and Stuart: and a shrewd battle strategy that still offers lessons to military commanders today. Wert shows how the same audacity, (his favorite and most often used word throughout the book), and aggressiveness that fueled Lee's victories, proved disastrous at Gettysburg. But as he points out, Lee had little choice, outnumbered by an opponent with superior resources, he had to take the fight to the enemy to win. For a year his superior generalship had prevailed against his opponents, but eventually what Lee's trusted lieutenant General James Longstreet called "headlong combativeness" caused Lee to miscalculate. Then in 1864 an equally combative Ulysses S. Grant took command of the northern forces and Lee was defeated. By quoting historians Gary Gallagher, Joseph Harsh, Douglas Southall Freeman, Robert K. Krick, and Robert E. Lee Krick plus drawing from unpublished diaries, letters and many sources never before used this book this book is an interesting study for the veteran civil war reader as well as someone just getting interested in the subject and will make a good addition to any civil war library. ISBN 978-1-4165-9334-8 Book Report by, Danny Witt
Civil War Trust For the latest CWT news visit:
Upcoming Events Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
Visit The Museum of the Confederacy Online
Visit The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and their Events Calendar
Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier and their Special Events Calendar
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2011
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©R.C.W.R.T. 2011