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September 2000
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

"Making Stonewall:
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.

8/8/00 Meeting

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. Parker. 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 Howlett Line. 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 post-war years.
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 697-1474.
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
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 lecture.
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 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 in early. 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 Round Table. Sam Craghead 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

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©R.C.W.R.T. 2000