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December 2001
Sam Craghead, President         Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors
4361F Lakefield Mews            3901 Paces Ferry Road      
Richmond, VA 23231              Chester, VA 23831-1239   

December 2001 PROGRAM

Dr. John M. Coski

"Battle Flag:                                          
A Brief History of America's Most Controversial Symbol"

8:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2001, at the
Boulevard United Methodist Church, 321 N. Boulevard,
Richmond, VA (corner of Boulevard and Stuart Ave.)

Dr.  John M.  Coski is  the  Director  of  the  Library  and
Research at the Museum of the Confederacy.  He has held this
position since 1999.  Coski received his  bachelor's  degree
from  Mary  Washington College and his master's and doctoral
degrees in American history from the College of William  and
Mary.  After teaching at Mary Washington College and Hollins
College, Coski  became  Historian  for  the  Museum  of  the
Confederacy  in 1990.  He is the author of Capital Navy: The
Men, Ships  and  Operations  of  the  James  River  Squadron
(1996);  A  Century of Collecting: The History of the Museum
of the Confederacy (1996); and The Army of  the  Potomac  at
Berkeley  Plantation:  The  Harrison's Landing Occupation of
1862 (1989).  Coski is the co-author or co-editor  of  White
House  of the Confederacy: An Illustrated History (1993) and
Four Centuries of  the  Southern  Experience:  Charles  City
County from the Earliest Settlement through the Modern Civil
Rights Movement (1989).  He is  working  on  a  book  titled
Embattled  Emblem:  The  Confederate Battle Flag in American
History and Culture.  Coski has also had articles  and  book
reviews  published  in  a  number  of scholarly journals and
compiled works.  In addition to his work at  the  Museum  of
the  Confederacy,  he  has  been a consultant for the Ball's
Bluff Battlefield Park and an instructor for Elderhostels at
Camp Hanover and Virginia Commonwealth University.          

Coski  is  one  of  the  leading  experts  in the country on
Confederate flags.  His presentation  for  the  Round  Table
will  focus  on  his work on the Confederate battle flag and
will be accompanied by slides.                              

Review of the November Program
Mrs. Virginia Beard Morton
Mrs. Virginia Beard Morton gave a talk and slide presentation based upon her book, Marching Through Culpeper: A Novel of Culpeper, Virginia, Crossroads of the Civil War. She pointed out that she became fascinated with Culpeper's vast Civil War history a number of years ago and began several years of intense research so that she could tell Culpeper's story to the world. Several future Confederate generals were born in Culpeper or Culpeper County, including Ambrose Powell Hill, Isaac R. Trimble, and Gabriel C. Wharton. Culpeper was also the home of Virginia governor (serving two terms) and Confederate General William "Extra Billy" Smith. More troops marched through Culpeper than any other county in the country. It saw so much action because of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad and the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers. Both armies needed to control the county because of these resources. During the Civil War, more than one hundred engagements were fought in the county. Prominent in that number were Cedar Mountain, Kelly's Ford, and Brandy Station. When she began writing her book, Mrs. Morton wanted it to be factual and decided to center it around a young lady so that she could also tell the story of women during the war. Her characters include Frank Stringfellow, who became a scout for General James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart. Stringfellow had attempted to enlist in a regular Confederate unit but had been rejected because of his youth and small size. One of the sites frequented by Confederate officers was the Virginia House Hotel. Jeb Stuart and the commander of his horse artillery, Major John Pelham, both visited the hotel. These men and others were also familiar visitors at Judge Henry Shackleford's house across the street. Mrs. Morton's character of Constance Armstrong is based upon Bessie Shackelford, the judge's daughter. Pelham and Major Robert F. Beckham, another artillerist, competed for her hand. A villain of the book is Union cavalry general Hugh Judson Kilpatrick. His men nicknamed him "Kill-cavalry" because of his lack of concern for their welfare. Following the Battle of Gettysburg, General George Armstrong Custer was in Culpeper. He led his cavalrymen in the September 13, 1863, Battle of Culpeper Court House and was wounded. While home on leave, Custer married Elizabeth "Libbie" Bacon, and the couple returned to Culpeper when he had recovered. Custer, then the youngest general in the Union army, made his headquarters at "Clover Hill," the home of John Barbour. Mrs. Morton stated that her compelling passion is to promote tourism to Culpeper and Culpeper County. As a former teacher, she realizes the importance of heritage tourism and the necessity to educate people about our past. She pointed out that she also conducts Civil War walking tours of the historic downtown area every first and third Saturday from June through October. These tours benefit the Museum of Culpeper History. Additionally, Mrs. Morton narrates bus tours of the Brandy Station, Kelly's Ford, and Cedar Mountain battlefields by appointment.
Mrs. Virginia Beard Morton, book signing
Booking signing after the meeting
Round Table Raffle The December raffle item is a nicely bound 2-volume set of The Long Arm of Lee by Jennings C. Wise.
Christmas Programs Pamplin Historical Park near Petersburg will host a series of Christmas programs during the month of December. The "Holiday Celebration" activities include Christmas traditions as observed by Civil War soldiers and civilians, Christmas music of the 1800s, and a visit from the Civil War era Santa Claus. These family activities will be both fun and educational and should appeal to all ages and levels of interest. On December 15, the program will be "Civil War Santa." The Santa Claus of the 1860s was quite different in appearance from the one of today. Illustrator Thomas Nast popularized this type of character through drawings that appeared in periodicals throughout the century. The Civil War era Santa will appear live at Pamplin Historical Park and will pose for photos with guests. The December 22 program is "Christmas Music." Visitors are invited to hear the music Americans of the 1860s enjoyed during the holiday season. The presentations will be performed live in historic settings. The park will be open from 9am to 5pm for these programs. For more information, call Pamplin Historical Park at (804) 861-2408 or visit the park's Web site at:
Christmas Open House Court End Christmas will be held on December 16 from 12:00-5:00 p.m. Come celebrate the holiday season in the historic Court End with three of Richmond's finest historic homes and museums: The John Marshall House, Wickham House, Valentine Richmond History Center and the Museum and White House of the Confederacy. Each site will offer free admission, house tours and refreshments all day. Carriage rides, living history, music, refreshments and children's activities will help you get into the holiday spirit. The Museum of the Confederacy has special events scheduled for its Christmas Open House. Kick off your Christmas season with a bit of good cheer at the Museum. In honor of the holidays, both the Museum and the White House of the Confederacy will be open to the public free of charge. Enjoy period music, living history, children's activities and refreshments. Author and historian Kevin Rawlings will portray a unique Civil War-era Santa Claus and sign copies of his work We Were Marching on Christmas Day. For more information, call (804) 649-1861.
A Confederate Christmas Private Frederick S. Daniel of the First Company Richmond Howitzers recalled a holiday in which his unit tried to celebrate the season: "When in camp on the Rapidan, the fourth detachment decided to have a Christmas cake. So, as a philosopher said he had seen cakes made and would undertake the job, the sugar and flour of the mess were turned over to him to handle, and he proudly set to work over it. All his messmates looked on with envy. The flour and sugar were mixed, the dough scientifically worked up, and then dumped in a big skillet expressly borrowed from the 'Swell First.' Finally the cooking commenced. Two hours passed and the cake began to brown. The day came to a close, and the cake was not done yet. The night wore on, and the cake became brown at bottom as well as on top, and next morning the cakemaker, declaring it had to be a success, said: 'Now, boys, to prove that the cake is all right, I'll run a stick through it and you can see the inside!' But the stick would not go through. Then a nail was tried: the nail broke. The cake was taken out of the skillet and fell on the ground like a big rock. The cook, with all his knowledge of the fine arts, whether through forgetfulness or lack of adequate ingredients, had simply produced, after twenty hours' cookery, a Christmas cake that appeared to require a pound of dynamite to break it up. 'What became of that cake?' 'I think it was fired at the Yankees!'..."
Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Art & Carol Bergeron, Editors 3901 Paces Ferry Road Chester, VA 23831-1239

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