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October 2005
Richard Forrester, President           Rob Monroe, Editor       
8008 Spottswood Road                   2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Richmond, VA 23229                     Richmond, VA 23228-3040          

October 2005 PROGRAM Gordon C. Rhea "Yellow Tavern, Stuart and Sheridan" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 11, 2005, 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 Arlington, Gordon C. Rhea now lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from Indiana University, a master's degree in history from Harvard University, and a J.D. degree from Stanford University Law School. Rhea is a partner in the law firm of Alkon and Rhea, where he has worked since 1982. He was Special Assistant to the Chief Counsel, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, in Washington, D.C., 1975-1976; Assistant United States Attorney, Washington, D.C., 1976-1981; and Assistant United States Attorney, Virgin Islands, 1981-1982. He is married and has two children. Rhea is the author of four award-winning books on the Overland Campaign: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864 (1994); The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern: May 7-12, 1864 (1997); To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864 (2000); and Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1964 (2002). His most recent book is Carrying the Flag: The Story of Private Charles Whilden, the Confederacy's Most Unlikely Hero, published last year by Basic Books. He has contributed essays to magazines and publications such as Gary W. Gallagher (comp.) The Wilderness Campaign (1997); Gary W. Gallagher (comp.), The Spotsylvania Campaign (1998); and The Oxford Companion to American Military History (1999). Rhea also penned the forward to Eric J. Wittenberg's Glory Enough for All: Sheridan's Second Raid and the Battle of Trevilian Station (2001).
Summary of September Meeting At the Richmond Civil War Round Table's September meeting, members had the privilege of hearing "one of our own." RCWRT member Robert E.L. Krick spoke to the Round Table on the Terrill brothers of Warm Springs. Krick, who spends much of his time traveling across the country speaking to groups at various Civil War events, remarked that he was happy to have a "home game" here in Richmond. There are many reasons why the Civil War has fascinated millions of people throughout the generations that have passed in the last 140 years. One of the major attractions is the way the war pitted family against family, cousin against cousin, and sometimes brother against brother. Perhaps there is no more compelling story of two siblings on opposite sides of the conflict than the Terrill brothers of Bath County. James Barbour Terrill was born in 1838, the sixth of eight children. Though he was far from an excellent pupil, his father wrote a recommendation letter for him to be accepted at VMI - a common practice at that time. It would be an understatement to say James struggled at the Lexington school. Pleading letters from his father to a VMI administrator may have been the only reason James was not dismissed. Eventually he persevered and was one of 19 graduates in 1858. He returned to Warm Springs and began practicing law. William Rufus Terrill was four years older than his brother James. William went to West Point and became an above average student. He graduated 16th in his class of 52 but accumulated several demerits. Often these offences were tobacco related and it is said that he kept cigars under his bed. A much-publicized fight with Phil Sheridan marks William's West Point record. The fracas netted Sheridan a one-year suspension from school. William stayed at West Point after graduation and became a math teacher. Ironically, this was his younger brother's worst subject. William's marriage to a Philadelphia woman may have been a significant factor in his decision to stay north after school. Back in Bath County, James had become a major in the prewar militia. April 1861 found him drilling new cadets at Harper's Ferry. He married a girl from King William County, became a lieutenant colonel in the 13th Virginia Infantry and learned under then-Col. A.P. Hill. James was not popular with his men - one soldier's diary referred to him as "Major Terrible." This animosity may have been fueled by James's refusal to endorse a petition drafted by some of his junior officers. Without his endorsement, their petition to become a cavalry unit was effectively killed. The move alienated his men and there was speculation that James shunned the endorsement because he knew he could be promoted easier in the infantry. At the beginning of the war, William was sent to the Western Theater. There is evidence that he requested to be sent west, away from his family. He was a captain of artillery at Shiloh and had risen to brigadier general by the time of Perryville. It was at this Kentucky battle that William was badly wounded in the chest when a Confederate artillery barrage decimated his unit. He died the following day. In the Eastern Theater, James reached the zenith of his career under John Pegram at the battles of Wilderness and Spotsylvania. James was probably witness to the famous "Lee to the rear" incident. On May 30, 1864, days before the Battle of Cold Harbor, he was shot and killed while commanding a "forlorn charge" at Bethesda Church. He was only two days away from being promoted to brigadier general by Lee and Davis. James was later eulogized by his men - even his former critics. After the battle about seven men went to retrieve his body but all were captured. Days later, after the Union army had left the field, James's body was found in a shallow grave and moved, however there seems to be no record of his final resting place. With the spread of residential homes in that section of Hanover County, Krick lamented that there is a strong possibility a new house now sets on his remains. In Bath County, a story has long circulated that the Terrill's father, in honor of his fallen sons, erected a stone with the inscription "God alone knows which was right." The story was circulated to the extent that it was published in a Richmond newspaper in 1886. Despite the efforts of many a determined searcher combing the hills of Bath County, the stone has never been found.
A Look Ahead to 2006 The following officers are up for election for the Richmond Civil War Round Table in 2006: President: Shep Parsons Vice-President: Bernie Fisher Second Vice-President: John Coski Treasurer Richard Grosse, Secretary Sandy Parker, Webmaster Gary Cowardin and newsletter editor Rob Monroe will continue in their posts. The following speakers are tentatively scheduled to visit the Round Table next year: January 10: James Blankenship, Petersburg National Battlefield (US Military Railroad) February 14: A. Wilson Greene, Pamplin Park (Petersburg, Va: Confederate City in the Crucible of War) March 14: Stephen Cushman, University of Virginia (Bloody Promenade: Reflections on a Civil War Battle) April 11: Peter Carmichael, University of North Carolina-Greensboro (Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion) May 9: Jay Jorgensen, R.E. Lee Civil War Round Table (Gettysburg's Bloody Wheatfield) June 13: Gary Gallagher, University of Virginia (topic to be announced) July 11: John J. Fox III (The Brutal Realities of War) August 8: Noah Andre Trudeau (Black Soldiers' Experience: History of the 4th Division, 9th Corps) September 12: Chris Kolakowski (topic to be announced) October 10: James M. Perry, Wall Street Journal - retired (Touched with Fire: Five Presidents and the Civil War Battles That Made Them) November 14: speaker to be announced December 12: Mike Gorman, Richmond National Battlefield (topic to be announced)
RCWRT's Annual Dinner is Next Month Richmond's daytime high temperatures continue to exceed 80 degrees, but don't be fooled. It really is October, it truly is autumn and our annual holiday dinner is only weeks away! On Tuesday evening, November 8, we'll meet high above downtown Richmond on the 24th floor of the SunTrust Bank at 919 East Main Street. There is no charge for parking in the bank's Cary Street entrance. In addition to the fine food and spectacular view, Jeff Johnston, a marine biologist with the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, will present a discussion and slide show on the remarkable recovery and restoration of the legendary ironclad. The cost for this special dinner and presentation is $35. Don't let time sneak up on you. Bring your check to the RCWRT's October 11 meeting or mail to: Shep Parsons 107 Rose Hill Dr. Richmond, VA 23229
The Richmond Civil War Round Table would like to thank Bernie Fisher for planning and organizing our highly successful fall field trip to the site of the Monitor-Merrimac clash on Hampton Roads. Great job, Bernie!
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2005
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To facilitate the printing and timely distribution of the monthly newsletter, information for it should be submitted to the editor no later than the following dates: November newsletter, October 29 December newsletter, December 3 Information may be emailed to or Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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