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October 2003
Brag Bowling, President         Rob Monroe, Editor     
3019 Kensington Ave             2416 Edenbrook Dr.     
Richmond, VA 23221              Richmond, VA 23228-3040

October 2003 PROGRAM Dr. Lawrence L. Hewitt "The Confederacy's Best Chance for Victory: Robert E. Lee and the Battle of Annihilation" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 14, 2003, 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. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Lawrence Lee Hewitt received his B.A. from the University of Kentucky. After attending graduate school there, where he studied under Charles P. Roland, Hewitt transferred to Louisiana State University. Following the death of T. Harry Williams, he completed his dissertation under William J. Cooper, Jr., and received his Ph.D. in 1984. Hewitt was the manager of the Port Hudson Historic Site (1978-1982) and the Camp Moore Confederate Cemetery and Museum (1982-1986); in 1985 he joined the faculty of Southeastern Louisiana University. He served in a variety of capacities in the Baton Rouge Civil War Round Table, including that of president. He attained the rank of full professor before resigning in 1996 to marry a native and resident of Chicago. Hewitt's presentation consists of a slide show dealing with the book on which he currently is working. It consists of three parts: (1) The historiograpy of "The Lost Cause" since 1865-focuses on the arguments previously presented regarding why the South lost, or even if the Confederacy ever had a chance to survive, much less win the war; (2) Lee, Davis and Confederate Strategy, 1861-1863-argues that Lee and Davis thought the Confederacy could win and describes how they determined to achieve that goal; and (3) Lee at Gettysburg-argues that the four Confederates who contributed most to Lee's defeat at the battle did not include Stuart, Ewell, or Longstreet. Though some of the second part agrees with the writings of Joseph Harsh and much of part three was recently described by Scott Bowden and Bill Ward, the overall argument, which reflects more than forty years of study of the Lee and his army by the speaker, runs counter to the current trends of historical scholarship.
Review of the September Program
Dr. Stephen Davis
Dr. Stephen Davis spoke on the subject "Atlanta Will Fall: Sherman, Joe Johnston, and the Yankee Heavy Battalions." His focus was on which Confederate general, Joseph E. Johnston or John Bell Hood, deserves the blame for the fall of Atlanta. From the start, Davis made it clear that he faults Johnston, who commanded the Army of Tennessee from early May until mid-July 1864. Hood did his best under bad circumstances. Not until the early 1970s did historians like Thomas Connelly begin taking a critical look at Johnston's leadership. Richard McMurry's biography of Hood presented a sympathetic view of that general's activities in the campaign. Steven Woodworth, in Davis and His Generals, said that Jefferson Davis should have fired Johnston earlier than he did. Johnston had held command of the army since December 1863. Davis and presidential advisor, General Braxton Bragg, hounded Johnston about how he planned to drive Sherman's forces from north Georgia. Nevertheless, Johnston failed to draw up such a plan. Once the Union campaign began, Johnston failed to reconnoiter the ground and left Snake Creek Gap wide open. As an engineer, this was a terrible error. Sherman seemed to know the terrain better than his opponent. The Confederate commander had a morbid fear of being flanked. He had his engineers preparing positions in the rear, and the soldiers in the army were becoming demoralized. Steve Davis looked at obscure Confederate newspapers for information about how the soldiers and the public viewed the campaign. He found an article written in early May 1864 in which the soldier (Henry Watterson) predicted "Atlanta will fall." This shows the growing lack of confidence in Johnston. As the Confederate army drew closer to Atlanta, President Davis began asking about Hood as a replacement for Johnston. There was a cabinet meeting in which there was a unanimous vote for that general's removal. How many men were present is unclear. Davis asked them who would be named to command the army. He received more information from Bragg about the situation in Georgia than he had gotten from Johnston. Still Davis hesitated to make the critical decision; he was giving Johnston one last chance. Once he assumed command, what was Hood expected to do? Davis clearly wished him to strike "a manly blow." Hood hoped to emulate Robert E. Lee's and Stonewall Jackson's flanking attacks. On all three occasions when he attacked the Federals, Hood planned to hit the enemy's flanks. According to Steve Davis, the assault east of Atlanta on July 22 was worthy of Jackson, though it fell short of its goal. Hood tried sending his cavalry after Sherman's communications. Johnston had been afraid to do so and had begged for cavalry forces to be sent from other theaters. The raid had no strategic effect, but at least Hood had made the effort. By mid-August, Hood had only one railroad still operating. Sherman sent troops to cut this last link to the city. Steve Davis argued that Jonesboro was not a critical battle, as some historians have written. The last railroad had already been cut by the Federals. Hood had done everything he could to save Atlanta. He simply had inherited an untenable situation.
Upcomming Events
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier will hold its seventh annual symposium on October 18 and 19. "Corps Commanders of the Army of Northern Virginia" will feature Frank O'Reilly, Gordon Rhea, Jeffrey Wert and other nationally respected speakers, as well as a group tour. Reservations are required and may be made on the park's website, or by calling toll-free 1-877-PAMPLIN. The annual reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek will be held October 18 and 19. The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation will host the event on the actual Frederick County battlefield. For more information call 1-888-628-1864 or log on to
Campbell to Step Down as Executive Director of Museum of the Confederacy The Board of Trustees of The Confederate Memorial Literary Society has announced the upcoming retirement of Col. J. A. Barton Campbell, executive director of The Museum and White House of the Confederacy. Campbell, who left the Board of Trustees to head the museum in 2002, will be stepping down after his replacement has been appointed, probably in early 2004. Board Chairman J.E.B. Stuart IV said of Campbell's decision: "Although the Board and museum staff are extremely sad at the prospect of Col. Campbell's departure, the reality is that in 2002 the Board requested that he help out for a specific short-term mission, which he has fulfilled." Campbell, who had already retired from careers in the military and corporate sectors when the board appointed him executive director, always projected a finite term in the position. He will continue his service to the museum as a volunteer and will return to the Board of Trustees next year. "In addition to his outstanding leadership in helping to strengthen our financial position, Campbell's unbridled enthusiasm for the museum has helped bolster the confidence of long-time supporters," Stuart said. "He has also brought many new fans and new members to the museum, so our future looks very bright." The Board of Trustees is conducting a national search of museum executives to fill the executive director role. In other Museum news, a massive horse chestnut tree in the garden of the White House of the Confederacy fell victim to Hurricane Isabel. The tree was probably planted by Dr. John Brockenbrough, who in 1818-19 created the garden and built the Court End mansion which five decades later would serve as The White House of the Confederacy. The fallen tree was the last of the three or more historic chestnut trees that once shaded the garden. Only an oak tree remains from the original early 19th-century garden. The week the storm hit, The Museum and White House of the Confederacy was in the process of documenting the horse chestnut for nomination in The National Registry of Historic Trees. Now it simply awaits sectioning and disposal. Anxious to retain some connection with the chestnut tree, the museum staff is entertaining suggestions about possible commemorative products that may be made from the tree's wood. Anyone interested in learning about the final disposition may inquire of the museum in mid-October.
Annual Holiday Dinner The Richmond Civil War Round Table's annual holiday dinner will be held on Tuesday, November 11, at the Willow Oaks Country Club. Our speaker will be Robert K. Krick, and his topic will be "The Confederate Pattons." The cost per person is $25.00. The meeting schedule will be as follows: 6:00-7:00 p.m. - Cash Bar 7:00-7:45 p.m. - Dinner 7:45 p.m. - Meeting begins 8:00 p.m. - Speaker All members are urged to attend this Holiday Dinner. Please fill out the form below, clip it out, and send it to Art Bergeron, 3901 Paces Ferry Road, Chester, VA 23831-1239. Make all checks payable to the Richmond Civil War Round Table. Let any interested friends know about the meeting and tell them that they are welcome to attend. If you have special dietary needs or prefer a vegetarian meal, please indicate this on your form. ------------------------------------------------------------ Richmond Civil War Round Table Annual Holiday Dinner Reservation Form Name _______________________________________________________ Address ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Number of persons attending _____________ Amount of check $ _______________ ------------------------------------------------------------
Newsletter Deadlines To facilitate the printing and timely distribution of the monthly newsletter, information for it should be submitted to the editors no later than the following dates: November newsletter, October 24 December newsletter, November 21 Information may be emailed to
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2003
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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