R.Danny Witt, President Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
5500 Ashton Park Way 3901 Paces Ferry Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059 Chester, VA 23831-1239
September 2000 PROGRAM
William J. Miller
Federal Intentions in the Valley in 1862"
8:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
Enter basement door from Boulevard side.
Was Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign really the brilliant
operation writers have made it out to be? Was it the
masterwork of a military genius or a "no brainer against"
third-rate opponents? William J. Miller will seek answers
through an analysis of the campaign from a Federal
perspective, discussing John C. Fremont, Nathaniel P.
Banks, Abraham Lincoln, Edwin Stanton, George B. McClellan,
James Shields, and William S. Rosecrans and what they were
attempting to do in western Virginia in the spring of 1862.
Miller received his bachelor's degree in English from
Villanova University and his master's degree in English from
the University of Delaware. He is the author or editor of
six volumes on Civil War history, including the
award-winning Mapping for Stonewall: The Civil War Service
of Jed Hotchkiss (1993); The Training of an Army: Camp
Curtin and the North's Civil War (1990); and The Men of Fort
Ward (1990). Miller has had articles and book reviews
published in various periodicals, including Civil War
Regiments and America's Civil War. A former editor of Civil
War Magazine, he is the recipient of the Jefferson Davis
Medal presented for historical writing by the United
Daughters of the Confederacy. Miller has published more
than 90 articles on Civil War history and is now editing the
papers of Jed Hotchkiss for publication by the University of
North Carolina Press in 2001. He is active in historic
preservation as a member of the advisory boards of Protect
Historic America and the Kernstown Battlefield Association.
James L. Conrad
"The Confederate Naval Academy"
Review of the August Program
Colonel James Lee Conrad presented an extremely informative
talk on the history of the Confederate States Naval Academy.
Conrad pointed out that Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy
never developed a military academy because of the number of
military schools that existed in the South. However, naval
training required some technical skills like mathematics,
navigation, and naval gunnery that made it necessary to have
a school to train the new country's future naval officers.
Thus, in April 1862, the Confederate Congress began filling
appointments to a naval academy in Richmond. Secretary of
the Navy Stephen R. Mallory and Commander John Mercer
Brooke were instrumental in getting the school started, and
it came under the superintendency of Lieutenant William H.
The C. S. S. Patrick Henry became the school ship and was
stationed at Drewry's Bluff on the James River. When
classes began in October 1863, many of the midshipmen, or
"reefers," who reported had already seen some action. Some
106 young men received appointments, but the Patrick Henry
could not accommodate all of them. She had room for only 52
midshipmen and the 20 officers, professors, and crewmembers.
The academy's curriculum resembled that of the United States
Naval Academy but also provided some first-hand experience
in practical seamanship. Rules aboard the Patrick Henry
were very strict, and midshipmen were expected to "abstain
from all vicious and amoral conduct." The academy's
proximity to Richmond and fairly liberal leave policy
sometimes made this difficult for the young reefers.
On occasion, some of the midshipmen would leave the academy
to participate in active operations. Some of them
participated in an expedition near Savannah, Georgia, which
captured the Union vessel Water Witch. Under Captain John
Taylor Wood, other reefers joined the attack on the Federal
garrison at New Berne, North Carolina, in February 1864.
This expedition failed, but the naval detachment succeeded
in capturing and destroying the gunboat Underwriter. Conrad
gave a vivid description of the reception of the heroic
reefers by the young ladies along their route back to
Richmond. When Major General Benjamin F. Butler's Army of
the James threatened Richmond during the Bermuda Hundred
Campaign of May 1864, a number of midshipmen left the
academy to either serve on warships of the James River
Squadron or in the batteries at Drewry's Bluff and along the
Lieutenant Parker realized by early 1865 the desperate
situation of the Confederate capital, so he asked Secretary
Mallory for instructions on where to move the academy if
Richmond should be evacuated. When that event occurred on
the night of April 2, 1865, Parker and 50 of his reefers
were given responsibility for escorting Jefferson Davis and
the Confederacy's gold reserves southward. From Manchester,
the treasure train moved to Danville, where it remained for
six days. The midshipmen continued the escort through
Greensboro and Charlotte and finally detrained at Abbeville,
South Carolina. There they moved the gold to wagons and
eventually put it in bank vaults in Augusta, Georgia.
Returning to Abbeville, Parker disbanded the corps of
midshipmen on May 2, 1865.
Conrad pointed to two positive legacies of the Confederate
Naval Academy. First, it provided well-trained officers to
the Confederate navy. Unfortunately, the new nation could
have used the reefers to better advantage by elevating them
more quickly. Second, the academy gave young men a chance
at a good education, one that would benefit them in the
Fall Field Trip. The Richmond Civil War Round Table's Fall
Field Trip will be on Saturday, November 4, 2000. The group
will tour the North Anna and Cold Harbor battlefields. Our
guide will be Mr. Eric Mink of the National Park Service.
We will depart from the parking lot of the James River Bus
Lines at 915 North Allen Street. Folks need to be there by
7:45 a. m. so that we can depart by 8:00 a. m. We will
return by 5:30 p. m. The cost is $18.00 per person. Those
interested in attending should bring a bag lunch and a
drink. Make checks out to the Richmond Civil War Roundtable
and sent them to Clark Lewis at 4217 Kingsrest Pkwy.,
Richmond, VA 23221. Direct any questions to him at
Trip to Staunton River Bridge State Park. This tour will
depart at 9:00 a. m., September 30. Those interested in
attending should meet in the parking lot of Ukrops (Harbor
Pointe) at 13700 Hull Street Road, near Clover Hill High
School. Everyone will car pool up to the Park (about 2
hours), tour there, and then return. Be sure to ring your
own lunch and drink. More details will be available at the
September meeting or by calling Danny Witt at 364-5589.
J. E. B. Stuart SCV Camp Fall Field Trip. This trip will
be held on November 11, 2000. The group will depart at 6:30
a. m. from the Lowe's parking lot at Parham Road and
Brooke Road and will return by 6:00 p. m. The cost per
person is $20.00. Please bring a lunch and drink. This
tour will visit sites of Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Shenandoah
Valley Campaign, including First Winchester, Port Republic,
Cross Keys, Turner Ashby's wounding site, and Banks' Fort.
Guides will be Rich Kleese and John Heatwole. To register
or for more information, contact Bragg Bowling at
804-359-0382 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fifth Annual Elizabeth Roller Bottimore Lecture. This
year's lecture, sponsored by the Museum of the Confederacy,
will be "'Yankee Perfidy' and the Seven Deadly Sins," by
Thomas P. Lowry, M. D. and will be held on Thursday,
September 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Perkinson Recital Hall,
North Court, University of Richmond. The lecture is free to
Museum of the Confederacy Members and to the public. Seating
is limited, so please arrive early. Lowry is the author of
The Story the Soldiers Wouldn't Tell: Sex in the Civil War,
Tarnished Eagles; Don't Shoot that Boy!; and Tarnished
Scalpels. He will sign his books at the Museum of the
Confederacy from 3:00 to 5:00 p. m. and at a reception in
the North Court Reception Room immediately after the
Carter House Descendants' Reunion. The Carter House, site
of the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, is hosting a
Descendants' Reunion on October 13-15. Descendants and
others who would like to share this common bond are welcome
to attend. The special weekend will include various
ceremonies, lecture, musical performances, and tours. Cost
for the three-day event is $100 per person, which covers all
meals and lectures. Participation is limited, so please
make reservations early. Make out your check to the Carter
House and mail it to 1140 Columbia Ave., Franklin, TN 37065.
Contact The Carter House by phone 615-791-1861 or e-mail at
email@example.com for more information.
Upcoming Symposium. Pamplin Historical Park & The National
Museum of the Civil War Soldier, near Petersburg, will hold
its Fourth Annual Civil War Symposium on October 21-22. The
theme this year is "Cavalry Raiders and Guerrillas."
Speakers and their topics are:
Stephen Davis, "Civil War Cavalry Raids:
Just What Did They Achieve?"
Edwin C. Bearss, "Wilson's Alabama Raid"
Jeffry D. Wert, "Mosby's Rangers"
James A. Ramage, "John Hunt Morgan"
Brian Steel Wills, "Nathan Bedford Forrest"
In addition to these fine talks, the symposium will include
a tour of Jeb Stuart's famous "Ride Around McClellan" in the
Spring of 1862. For a registration form or more
information, call Pamplin Historical Park at 861-2408.
Richmond Civil War Round Table in Cyberspace. The Round
Table's Web site has been available for several months. It
includes the monthly newsletter, CW book reports,
photographs of previous meetings, and a list of all
forthcoming speakers. The URL or Web address is:
(The - between g-co is an underscore )
*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
4361F Lakefield Mews
Richmond, VA 23231
PLEASE NOTE: This is a new address for Sam.
It has changed since the last newsletter.
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