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August 2009 -
Edward J. Wooldridge, Pres.            Gary Cowardin, Editor    
13700 Lintel Lane                      1404 Lorraine Ave.       
Midlothian, VA 23113                   Richmond, VA 23227-3735                   

August 2009 Program Betsy Estilow "The Legacy of Civil War Medicine" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 11, 2009, 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. Our scheduled speaker for August, George Wunderlich, will not be with us due to personal reasons. In his place we are delighted to have Betsy Estilow, President of the Board of Directors of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Ms. Estilow currently serves as Professor Emeritus of Biology and adjunct instructor in Civil War history at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. She is also co-founder of the Society of Women and the Civil War. Ms. Estilow received a BS degree in biology from Albright College, Reading, Pa., a certificate in medical technology from the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, and a MS in clinical microbiology from West Virginia University. In 1975, she joined the faculty at Hood College and taught courses as varied as biology of aging to mechanisms of infectious disease. She also taught a course on Civil War history for Hood Elderhostel entitled "In the Footsteps of the Blue and Gray." She has researched, written and lectured on the role of women, especially in medicine, during the 19th century. Few aspects of Civil War history remain as mired in myths and misinformation as the medical practices. Just as the governments and armies of both sides had to evolve to deal with the challenges confronting them so did the medical departments. At our August meeting Ms. Estilow will discuss the technological and procedural changes that occurred during the Civil war that revolutionized medical care in both the military and civilian life. Additionally, the stories of the caregivers who made these changes and met these challenges will be discussed.
A Note from Our July Speaker, Bevin Alexander My appearance before the Richmond Civil War Round Table last night was most stimulating to me. Please convey to the membership my thanks for their inviting me and for their patience in sitting through my talk. I am distressed, however, because I do not believe I expressed my thoughts adequately to the gentleman who referred to Lee as the "King of Spades" and who raised the question about fortifications. I would very much appreciate your conveying to him my apologies, and sending him the following explanation, which I hope is more coherent than the one I made from the lectern: I did not make clear enough the distinction between field fortifications and more stable defensive fortifications, such as those Lee ordered in front of Richmond prior to the Seven Days. Stable fortifications have an ancient history---the walls of Greek city states were fortifications of this sort, as were the castles of medieval Europe. The fortifications Lee built south of the Chickahominy had a similar aim: to deter the Union army in its expected assault on the city. Field fortifications (which I was intending to be talking about) were quite different. They were defenses set up by troops on the march. William Tecumseh Sherman described how soldiers built these fortifications as soon as they stopped for the night (see Battles and Leaders, vol. 4, 248). Porter Alexander drew a cross section of such works in Fighting for the Confederacy, 409. Lee was slow to accept the idea of field fortifications while on the move. For example, both Second Manassas and Antietam were fought without constructed field fortifications. Jackson employed the unfinished railway cut at Groveton as a defensive shield of sorts, and D.H. Hill's troops used the partial shelter of the Bloody Lane at Antietam. But in neither battle were field fortifications built routinely. This changed, as I mentioned in my talk, after the experience of the stone wall on the Sunken Road at Fredericksburg in December 1862. Thereafter, field fortifications were constructed almost universally. The significance of field fortifications, however, is their combination with the fire power of the Mini-ball rifle and 12-pounder Napoleons in creating an almost impenetrable defense. Jackson recognized that this "terrible trinity" made it virtually impossible to attack a strongly held defensive position successfully, and therefore a new system had to be devised. The system he came up with was "defend, then attack"---that is, to go on the defensive, stop a Union attack, then swing around the flank of the demoralized Union soldiers and drive them into retreat. James Longstreet accepted this concept of Jackson, as did a number of other officers, for example, Porter Alexander. The point I was trying to make in my talk was that Robert E. Lee did not accept the futility of frontal assaults against well-defended lines, and continued to make them---not only at Gettysburg---but almost to the last days of the war (he lost one-tenth of his remaining army in a hopeless assault against Fort Stedman at Petersburg on March 25, 1865). I hope this explanation conveys my thinking a bit better than I was able to do in my Q&A session. Again, many thanks for the invitation! Regards, Bevin
Save the Date-Nov. 19, 2009 The RCWRT's 2009 annual dinner is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Nov. 19. It will be held again this year at the University of Richmond's Jepson Alumni Center. Our speaker for the event will be renowned historian James I. "Bud" Robertson. Please mark your calendar and watch for more details in next month's newsletter.
We Need Your Help If you have an E-mail address and internet access and are not currently E-mail receiving your newsletter notification please let me know ASAP. My E-mail address is: (Just click my E-mail address above)
Looking for a Volunteer We have a copy of The Rebel and the Rose by Wesley Millett and Gerald White, a nominee for the Jefferson Davis Award at the Museum of the Confederacy. It tells the true story of a dedicated Confederate Paymaster James Semple, who was entrusted with the Confederate Treasury. We would like for a member to read and review this book for the website. For more information contact: Sam Craghead, Public Relations Specialist, Museum of the Confederacy, 804-649-1861 Ext. 13
Some Upcoming Events
Wayside Theatre in Middletown VA will present the production "Robert E. Lee and John Brown; Lighting the Fuse" Beginning August 29 through September 26, 2009 The play is written by Warner Crocker and with music by Steve Przybylski. The production is one of the events of the Quad State 150th Anniversary of John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859. The play tells the story of John Brown's dramatic raid on Harper's Ferry and paints a picture of that tumultuous time in our nation's history. The play brings these two important historical figures face to face using many of their own words to tell the story that concluded with Lee's refusal to accept command of the Union army in 1861. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. Except Sunday, August 30, the official opening performance is at 6:30 PM. Cost $25-$30 for adults, Children 17 years and younger are $10.00 for any performance. Reserve seating. Call (540) 869-1776 Box Office to reserve. Also see:
University of Richmond offers course on Civil War in Virginia The University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies will offer a course titled "Civil War in Virginia - The War's Last Year, 1864-1865." Meeting 7:00 - 9:00 PM on four Monday nights (Oct. 26- November 16), the course will discuss the Siege of Petersburg, the 1864 campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, the desperate fighting in Southside Virginia in the spring of 1865 that lead to the evacuation of Richmond and, finally, Lee's retreat and surrender at Appomattox. Participants will also take a Saturday field trip to Petersburg, Sailors Creek, and Appomattox on November 21, 2009. This course is led by Round Table member Jack Mountcastle, the U.S. Army's former Chief of Military History. Class discussions will focus on the soldiers and leaders who continued to fight on during this last year of the Civil War and on the effects the war had on Virginia and on the families of the fighting men. The instructor will supply additional info as take-home material. The cost of the non-credit course is $169. Registration begins in early August. Details: Call University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies at 289-8133 or visit their website at Look for "Schedules & Catalogs" and then select the Think Again Noncredit course catalog. The direct link (2nd item):
The North East Ohio Civil War Round Table Will Return to Richmond Again This Year This year's field trip will be October 3 and 4, 2009. We will concentrate on the second half of Grant's Overland Campaign. Sites of visit and study will include North Anna, Hanover Junction, Cold Harbor, Haw's Shop, Totopotomoy Creek, Yellow Tavern and Drewery's Bluff. Our leader this year will be R. E. L. Krick. We have a 47 passenger bus each day. The bus will leave the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Resort promptly at 8:30 AM each morning. We have a limited number of openings available to members and friends of the Richmond Civil War Round Table who would care to join us. We anticipate that the total cost of the two day trip will be $100 - $125. Folks can reserve their spot by forwarding a $100 trip deposit to me. The fee includes daily box lunches and the Saturday night dinner. Brent Morgan Richmond Coordinator, NEOCWRT Field Trip 9091 Pantego Ln Mechanicsville, VA 23116-5837 804-550-3039
Visit the The Museum of the Confederacy Online Events Calendar for MOC Events Calendar:
Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier Special Events Calendar:
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2009
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Gary Cowardin, Editor 1404 Lorraine Ave. Richmond, VA 23227-3735

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©R.C.W.R.T. 2009