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November 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    

November 2000 PROGRAM

Craig L. Symonds

"Franklin Buchanan at the Battle of Hampton Roads"

8:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 14, 2000
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)
Enter basement door from Boulevard side.

Craig L.  Symonds is professor  of  history  at  the  United
States  Naval Academy, where he has taught naval history and
Civil War history since 1976.  He earned his B.  A.   degree
from  U.C.L.A.   and  his  M.A.  and Ph.D.  degrees from the
University of Florida.  Symonds taught Strategy  and  Policy
at  the  U.  S.  Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island,
both as an officer  (1972-1974)  and  a  civilian  professor
(1974-1975).  In 1994-1995, he was visiting professor at the
Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England. Symonds
is  the author of eight books including Joseph E.  Johnston,
A Civil War Biography (1992); Stonewall of the West: Patrick
Cleburne  and the Civil War (1997); and Confederate Admiral:
The Life and Wars  of  Franklin  Buchanan  (1999).   He  has
authored four historical atlases and edited seven books. His
articles and book  reviews  have  appeared  in  a  score  of
journals.   He  is  a two-time winner of the John Lyman Book
Award (1995 and 1999), was a finalist for the Lincoln  Prize
in  1993,  and  was  twice  nominated for the Pulitzer Prize
(1993 and 1997).                                            

Franklin Buchanan was a native of Baltimore,  Maryland,  and
had  a  distinguished career in the United States navy prior
to the Civil War.  He was the first superintendent of the U.
S.   Naval  Academy  and  received  promotion to the rank of
captain  in  1855.   When  the  Civil  War  began,  Buchanan
attempted  to maintain a neutral stance, but in August 1861,
he  went  to  Richmond  to  offer  his   services   to   the
Confederacy.   Secretary  of  the  Navy  Stephen R.  Mallory
commissioned Buchanan as a captain.  He served as  chief  of
the Office of Orders and Details in the Navy Department.  On
February 24, 1862, Buchanan  received  appointment  as  flag
officer in command of the naval defenses on the James River.
In this capacity, he assumed command  of  the  new  ironclad
Virginia   at  Gosport  Navy  Yard.   Symonds  will  discuss
Buchanan's role in the  famous  March  8,  1862,  battle  at
Hampton  Roads.  There the Virginia sank two Union frigates,
and Buchanan was wounded late in the fight.                 

10/10/00 Dr.Richard R.Duncan
Review of the October Program
In "Lee's Endangered Left," Dr. Richard R. Duncan presented a summary of the first two parts of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign in May and June. He pointed out that most people are aware of only the final two phases-Jubal Early's march down the Valley toward Washington, D. C., and Philip Sheridan's campaign that resulted in the destruction of Early's forces. Had Union forces succeeded in the two initial parts, the war might have been shortened by several months. President Abraham Lincoln was interested in the Shenandoah Valley because he wanted to see the backbone of the Confederacy broken. The railroad that ran into Virginia from eastern Tennessee brought supplies to Robert E. Lee's army, salt and lead mines in southwestern Virginia provided needed war items, and the Valley itself was the bread basket for the Army of Northern Virginia. In conjunction with other operations by Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Benjamin F. Butler, and Nathaniel P. Banks, Federal troops would strike at the vital Shenandoah Valley. This effort would come under the command of Major General Franz Sigel. Union strategy called for a pincher movement. Brigadier General George Crook's infantry force would attempt to destroy the Virginia &Tennessee Railroad at New River Bridge. At the same time, Brigadier General William W. Averell would lead some 2,000 cavalrymen toward Saltville and Wytheville to strike at the lead and salt mines. Then the two forces would combine and march toward Staunton, where the Federals would cut the Virginia Central Railroad. Sigel would march southward into the Shenandoah from Martinsburg with another army of some 9,000 men. This first phase of the 1864 Valley Campaign experienced only partial success. Crook defeated the Confederates at Cloyd's Mountain and destroyed the New River Bridge. Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Jenkins was mortally wounded at Cloyd's Mountain, and John McCausland took over his command. Averell found himself confronted by Confederates under John Hunt Morgan and was defeated in an engagement at Wytheville. Sigel's army marched slowly up the Valley, and he allowed his command to become spread out and separated. In the Battle of New Market, Major General John C. Breckinridge defeated Sigel and drove his army back down the Valley. Major General David Hunter replaced Sigel, reorganized the Army of the Shenandoah, and advanced again in late May. He moved cautiously, trying to protect his supply lines. Then, when he reached New Market, he cut himself off from those lines and decided to have his army live off the land. Breckinridge had left the Valley to rejoin Lee's army, and Hunter found himself confronted only by cavalry forces commanded by William E. "Grumble" Jones and John D. Imboden. Hunter defeated them on June 5 in the Battle of Piedmont. Jones was killed while trying to rally his men. Rather than following up on this victory by crossing the mountains and moving against Charlottesville, Hunter decided to let his men go on an orgy of destruction, including the burning of the Virginia Military Institute. The Federals finally began marching toward Lynchburg, but McCausland's Confederate cavalrymen delayed their advance. By the time they reached the town, they found it defended by Jubal Early and the Second Corps of Lee's army. Hunter retreated, with Early in pursuit. Old Jube's next move would be to cross the Potomac River and pay a visit on Washington, D. C.
50th Anniversary Project
To celebrate the Richmond Civil War Roundtable's anniversary (early in 2001), we are reprinting the memoirs of prominent Richmond preservationist and Roundtable member J. Ambler Johnston. Late in his life, Mr. Johnston reminisced about the early history of the area battlefields and the personalities associated with Civil War Richmond in the early 20th century. The book includes a short account by longtime Roundtable member Bill Mallory about the formation of our group in 1951. Our reprint of this volume will include an index, a listing of the past presidents, and an expanded section chronicling all of our previous speakers and their subjects. Mr. Johnston's original driving tour of the area battlefields has been updated by Sam Craghead to reflect modern alterations to the route, and that will be in an appendix as well. The cost to members will be $17.00 plus shipping. No shipping charges will be added if members pick up the book themselves. It is anticipated that Echoes of 1861-1961 will be available shortly after the first of the year.
Former Member Dies. The Round Table has lost another past president, Mr. Otto Holcombe. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends.
Christmas Program. Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, near Petersburg, will hold a special Christmas program on Sunday, December 3, 2000. A highlight of the program will be a talk on "The Generalship of Grant and Lee at Petersburg" by Dr. Richard J. Sommers at 1 p.m. Sommers is chief historian and archivist at the United States Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and is the author of Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg (1981). For more information, call Pamplin Historical Park at 861-2408.
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
NEW URL! 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 NEW URL or Web address is:
*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. 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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