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September 2008
John Coski, President                  Rob Monroe, Editor       
5028 King William Road                 2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Richmond, VA 23225                     Richmond, VA 23228-3040            

September 2008 PROGRAM Edwin C. Bearss "The Battle of Shiloh" It has been said that "the South never smiled again after the Battle of Shiloh." The Civil War's first blood bath, this two-day battle in April 1862 resulted in a total of 23,000 battle casualties, equal to those at Waterloo and more than those of all previous American wars combined. Before the Battle of Shiloh, considered opinion in the North was that one decisive battle would bring a quick end to the Civil War. After the battle, it was clear that there would be no easy victory over the South and that the war would be "a very bloody affair." At our September meeting, renowned historian Ed Bearss will present an overview of the Battle of Shiloh, including his unique perspectives on the role of key commanders involved in the campaign and the military tactics they implemented. Bearss is a veteran of 52 years of government service, 41 of them with the National Park Service. He worked in both Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C., before being named the National Park Service's Chief Historian in 1981. Retired since1995, Bearss has continued his lifelong association with our nation's military history by lecturing, writing, and appearing as a commentator on Civil War-related television programs. A popular battlefield guide, Bearss also has won any number of awards for his work in the field of history and preservation, including the Department of Interior's highest award, the Distinguished Service Award.
University of Richmond Forum Examines Lincoln's Leadership The canonization of Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator and the Savior of the Union began as soon as he was shot on Good Friday 1865. In celebrating Lincoln the kind and sagacious leader, eulogists drove from view the guileful politician and the man of human foibles. An 1865 newspaper described what was at work in this way: "It has made it impossible to speak the truth of Abraham Lincoln hereafter." Time has passed, and the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth approaches. Scholars are more confident about reaching a disinterested judgment on key features of Lincoln's presidential leadership: his vision, strategic command, political management, and techniques as a communicator. Oxford University historian Richard Carwardine relates Lincoln's compelling personal and public story in Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power. The book traces Lincoln's rise to power and his years in the White House, paying close attention to the evolution of his political agenda, moral principles, religious beliefs, and changing views on slavery. In presenting his more objective view of Lincoln, Carwardine suggests that Lincoln's "wonderful self-reliance" was key to his executive achievements. Carwardine shares a broad view of Lincoln the man, the politician, and the moral leader. Carwardine will speak at the University of Richmond's Jepson Alumni Center on Friday, September 12 at 7 p.m. A book signing and reception will follow. Abraham Lincoln's leadership can only be understood by grasping the challenges he faced. Those challenges included not only the Confederacy and its army but also a starkly divided Northern electorate and public opinion. Lincoln had to win a war at home as well as one against a more obvious enemy. Thought to be the first modern president for a host of reasons, Lincoln faced conflicts, mistakes, miscalculations, and competing values everywhere he turned. He invented a concept of presidential war powers that the Supreme Court later rebuked. Against a complicated political backdrop, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, citing it as a military, not a moral, necessity. He conducted a balancing act between abolitionists and border-state moderates, between radicals and conservatives, and struggled with a parade of generals over military strategy. As scholar James MacGregor Burns pointed out in his seminal book, Leadership: "Wars, depression, domestic unrest, [and] great moral issues... have posed the most urgent questions of value and purpose for pragmatic politicians, however much they have sought to evade them." Lincoln could not evade the realities of his time, and we understand his leadership by examining how he faced them. On Tuesday, October 7, University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers will speak about Lincoln's conflicts, mistakes, miscalculations, and competing values. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in UR's Modlin Center for the Arts. Tickets may be reserved two weeks before each event by calling the Modlin Center Box Office at (804) 289-8980. For more information online
Trial of Jefferson Davis is Topic of Bottimore Lecture A panel of acclaimed historians will discuss "The Treason Trial of Jefferson Davis" at the 13th annual Elizabeth Roller Bottimore Lecture which will be held from 7:30-9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 25th at the University of Richmond's Keller Hall Reception Room. Co-sponsored by The Museum of the Confederacy and the University of Richmond History Department, the program is underwritten by a grant from the Roller Bottimore Foundation. In 1866, the U.S. Government indicted Jefferson Davis, then a state prisoner at Fort Monroe, of treason. For the next two years, as Davis' attorneys prepared his defense, the government continued the case and was obviously in no hurry to bring it to trial. Finally, early in 1869, the case against the Confederate president was dropped. What was the case against Jefferson Davis? Why was the government so reluctant to press it? Was the government afraid that it would lose? If the government did prosecute and lose, would that mean that secession from the Union was not unconstitutional and that 600,000 men had died needlessly? "The Treason Trial of Jefferson Davis" panel will feature Kent Masterson Brown, Clint Johnson, and Cynthia Nicoletti. Brown is a historian best known for his acclaimed book, Retreat From Gettysburg, and is also an attorney and constitutional lawyer who practices in Lexington, Kentucky, and Washington, DC. Johnson, a historian and journalist, is the author of the recent book Pursuit: The Chase, Capture, Persecution and Surprising Release of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Nicoletti holds a law degree from Harvard University and is finishing her Ph.D. in history at the University of Virginia; her dissertation is on "The Great Question of the War: The Legal Status of Secession in the Aftermath of the Civil War, 1865-1869." The program is free and open to the public, but advance registration is strongly recommended. Register on-line at (click on "Special Davis Events" on home page) or by contacting Linda Lipscomb at (804) 649-1861, ext. 32 or
ACWC Board Votes to Accept Davis Statue Christy S. Coleman, President of the American Civil War Center, announced last month that the Center's Board of Directors voted to accept the offer of a statue of Jefferson Davis, commissioned by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "The fundamental mission of The American Civil War Center is to tell the whole story of our nation's greatest conflict from three perspectives: Union, Confederate and African American," said Coleman. "We seek to involve our visitors, scholars and patrons in engaging, thought-provoking and academically sound considerations of the Civil War and its legacies." Before making a decision the Board of Directors consulted staff and received valuable input from the public, scholars and historians including William J. Cooper Jr., former President of Louisiana State University, and Elizabeth Muhlenfeld, President of Sweet Briar College. John Motley, Chair of the Board of Directors said, "We appreciate the offer of the statue of Jefferson Davis from the International Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Center's Board has decided the statue can be used in the execution of our mission - to tell the whole story of the conflict that still shapes our nation from three perspectives. We recognize this decision may cause some dissention; however, in conformance with our Collections Policy, the Center shall have the right to determine the statue's use and interpretation. It should be noted that the Abraham Lincoln statue currently on this Tredegar site was gifted to the National Park Service in 2003 by the U.S. Historical Society and is part of their collection."
Annual Dinner Meeting Upcoming November 13 Fall is just around the corner and that means it's time to start thinking about our annual dinner meeting. This year's event will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 13, at the Jepson Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Richmond. Our speaker will be University of Richmond President Ed Ayers; and his topic will be "Aftermath." This promises to be an exciting event that you don't want to miss so make plans, now, to be there. The cost of the dinner is $40/person. To reserve your spot(s), bring your check payable to the RCWRT to the next meeting, or mail it to Ed Wooldridge, 13700 Lintel Lane, Midlothian, VA 23113.
Upcoming Events Sunday, September 14 "Born To Command: The Meteoric Rise of Jefferson Davis, 1824-1861." The American Civil War Center marks the bicentennial of the Confederate president's birth with a program by Center educator Jimmy Price tracing Davis' career from his education at West Point through his tenure as a U.S. Senator. Event begins at 2 p.m., $10 or free with paid admission or Center membership. Saturday & Sunday, September 27-28 "The Battles for Richmond." Anniversary program commemorating actions at New Market Heights, Fort Harrison and Fort Gilmer. Special events include battlefield tours, living history encampments, weapons firing demonstrations, exhibits and displays. Free event at Fort Harrison Battlefield, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Saturday & Sunday, September 27-28 "Peebles' Farm Weekend." One of the lesser-known yet pivotal battles of the Siege of Petersburg will be the focus of this caravan tour beginning at Poplar Grove National Cemetery. Free. For times and further information contact Tracy Chernault at (804) 265-8244. Saturday & Sunday, October 4-5 "Encampment at Drewry's Bluff." Park rangers and living history volunteers representing Confederate sailors will present a series of talks, tours and demonstrations depicting garrison life inside the Drewry`s Bluff fortifications. Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2008
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Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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©R.C.W.R.T. 2008