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October 2006
Sheppard Parsons, President            Rob Monroe, Editor       
107 Rose Hill Road                     2416 Edenbrook Dr.       
Richmond, VA 23229                     Richmond, VA 23228-3040       

October 2006 PROGRAM James M. Perry "Touched With Fire: Five Union Presidents And The Civil War Battles That Made Them" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 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. James M. Perry is a journalist and political writer. He began his career at Leatherneck Magazine, and then worked for thirty-five years covering politics for the National Observer and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of six books, including "A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents -- Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready" and "Arrogant Armies: Great Military Disasters and the Generals Behind Them." In 1997 Perry was awarded the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award for a distinguished career in journalism. Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., once said about his fellow Civil War veterans, "In our youth our hearts were touched with fire." This is the origin of the title of Mr. Perry's most recent work. In it he recounts the Civil War experience of five men -- Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley -- who rose to the presidency of the United States. Though their political careers were a reflection of the Gilded Age, in their youth they were all brave and successful soldiers. Nothing, not even the White House, meant so much to these five men as the time they spent in uniform.
Summary of September Meeting Our featured speaker at the September meeting was Chris Kolakowski, a Fredericksburg native now working as the executive director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association and the Perryville Enhancement Project. The largest battle ever fought in Kentucky was the October 8, 1862 Battle of Perryville. Kolakowski explained how the fate of the Bluegrass State hung in the balance. In the summer of 1862, Confederate Kentucky was cutting the Union supply lines. In Tennessee, CSA Gen. John Hunt Morgan told Gen. Braxton Bragg that if he went to Kentucky 25,000 men would volunteer for the rebel army. Later that summer, the Confederates forces pulled off what is considered by many the most complete Southern victory - The Battle of Richmond, Kentucky. The importance of this battle has long been unfairly overlooked because it took place on the same days Lee fought and won at Second Manassas. By the fall of 1862, rivers were drying up as Kentucky was suffering through one of its worst droughts in history. The outlook for the Union army appeared bleak as well - Kentucky was close to becoming a Confederate state. At the beginning of October, U.S. Gen. Don Carlos Buell amassed a force of 55,000 troops in Louisville. On the eve of battle, Bragg, in Harrodsburg, estimated he was facing a Union force of only 20,000. The following day, Buell deployed his troops to fight at Perryville beginning noon, then delayed the attack until dawn the next day. In the Confederate camp, Leonidas Polk and William J. Hardee tried unsuccessfully to convince Bragg that they were facing a large army. The stubborn Confederate commander ordered an attack at 2pm. Things went well initially for the Southerners as they captured Union guns on the north battlefield. Soon afterward, on the south battlefield, Mississippi regiments under Thomas Jones were shattered. Later in the day, Union Gen. William Terrill, a Bath County native and brother of CSA Gen. James B. Terrill, was killed in battle. The 21st Wisconsin was involved in some of the fiercest fighting, noted Kolakowski. They fired upon Tennesseans, inflicting many casualties, until they found themselves in the axis of a deadly crossfire. Ultimately the 21st would suffer about 25% casualties. Kolakowski pointed out that the first street fighting of the war occurred in Perryville, predating Fredericksburg by two months. Later in the battle, as daylight was quickly fading, Polk found himself behind enemy lines. The Indiana troops he rode into did not recognize him and he was able to ride away. Arkansas men under St. John Liddell then fired into the fading light, killing and wounding 65% of the Indianians. After the intense five-hour battle, Bragg finally realized the full strength of the Union forces. He retreated to Harrodsburg and eventually to Tennessee. Perryville is the battle of Kentucky, Kolakowski stated emphatically. After October 8, 1862 the course of the Western Theater was irrevocably reversed. During the question and answer period, Kolakowski was asked if Bragg could have kept Kentucky had he been victorious at Perryville. He responded that he is not sure because it's impossible to predict Braxton Bragg. The Confederate commander was the best general the U.S. Army had in the field in the Western Theater, Kolakowski said with a grin. In addition to being a decisive win for the Union army in 1862, Perryville is a great victory for modern-day preservationists, Kolakowski explained. In 1992 only 98 acres of the battlefield had been preserved. The land protected at Perryville now totals over 500 acres. Kentucky is a leader in battlefield preservation, Kolakowsi noted. He praised the state's general assembly for their work with enhancement grants. Ed Bearrs has hailed Perryville as the best interpreted battlefield and one of the best preserved. Kolakowski prompted great laughter from Round Table members when he announced that Perryville's population has doubled since the Civil War - from 350 to 700. The town is off the beaten path and that can be both a blessing and a curse, he observed. Perryville's remoteness helps keep development and land prices down but also limits visitation. Kolakowski wrapped up by inviting everyone to come see this important battlefield. "A Kentuckian is a Virginian who moved west," he quipped.
Last Chance to Reserve Your Seat for Field Trip There's only a few days left to reserve your seat for the Richmond Civil War Round Table's fall field trip to Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. Although they are better known for their Colonial history, all three places played significant roles in the 19th century as well. On Saturday, October 28, expert guides will lead the RCWRT's special bus tour of the earthworks, fortifications and buildings of prominence during the Civil War. The bus departs at 8am from the James River Bus Lines parking lot (on N. Allen St. between Leigh and Broad) and returns at 6pm. Our guides will be David Riggs (curator at Colonial National Historical Park and author of Embattled Shrine: Jamestown in the Civil War), Dr. Adrian Wheat (author of guidebook to Civil War Yorktown) and Robin Reed (Director of Historic Area Programs at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and formerly Executive Director of The Museum of the Confederacy). Bring your own lunch. The trip costs just $25. Reserve your seat today by completing the form below and bringing it with your payment to the October meeting. You may also register by mailing this form with your check (payable to RCWRT) to: Richard Grosse 14187 Hickory Oaks Lane Ashland, VA 23005 Name____________________________________________________________ Address_________________________________________________________ City, State, Zip________________________________________________ Phone number and/or Email address: _____________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Number of seats requested ____ x $25 = (total payment)$ ________
RCWRT Annual Dinner Is Next Month The leaves haven't even changed color, let alone fallen, but the Richmond Civil War Round Table's Annual Dinner is only a month away! The event will return to the 24th floor of the SunTrust Bank, 919 E. Main in downtown Richmond on Wednesday, November 8th. Note the special night for this event: Wednesday, not Tuesday. Parking is free in the bank's Cary St. entrance and the high-rise building offers a spectacular view of the Capital City at night. If delicious food and a breathtaking view aren't enough to lure you downtown, we have an excellent speaker and program scheduled. The RCWRT's own Michael D. Gorman from the Richmond National Battlefield Park will present another photographic journey through Civil War Richmond. The cost for this special dinner and presentation is $35. Make checks payable to the Richmond Civil War Round Table. You may bring a check to the October meeting or mail payment to: RCWRT c/o Bernie Fisher 7300 Ann Cabell Lane Mechanicsville, VA 23111
Border States Examined at Pamplin Park Symposium On October 20-22, Pamplin Historical Park & the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier will host their tenth annual symposium. This year's program is titled "Civil War in the Borderland" and will feature nationally-renowned historians. Featured speakers include Professor Tom Clemens of Hagerstown Community College on "Civil War in Maryland"; archaeologist and preservationist Hunter Lesser on "Civil War in West Virginia"; Jeff Patrick of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield on "Civil War in Missouri"; Professor John Y. Simon of Southern Illinois University on "Civil War in the Lower Midwest"; author Kent Masterson Brown on "Civil War in Kentucky"; and D. Scott Hartwig of Gettysburg National Military Park on "Maryland Soldiers in the Antietam & Gettysburg Campaigns." The registration price of $219 includes meals and lectures. You may register online at or call 1-877- PAMPLIN.
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RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2006
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040

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