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December 2007 PROGRAM John F. Burgwyn "Kinchen and the 'Boy Colonel': A True Story of a Southern Family" 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 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. The family name Burgwyn looms large in Confederate history. Everyone is familiar with Henry King Burgwyn, the "Boy Colonel of the Confederacy," who fell on the first day of Gettysburg with the flag of his unit, the 26th North Carolina Infantry, wrapped around his body. Richmond native John Fanning Burgwyn grew up with this and other stories of his forbears. He studied Civil War history under James I. "Bud" Robertson at Virginia Tech before pursuing a career in business and banking. He later found his family history a rich source for his second career as a writer. The result is Kinchen: A Southern Novel Based on a True Family Story published in 2003. Drawing upon a treasure trove of letters and other primary sources, it chronicles the "mixed marriage" of Henry Burgwyn's parents, Henry King Burgwyn, Sr., of North Carolina, and Anna Greenough, of Massachusetts, and the life they established for themselves and their family. At the story's center is the life-long relationship between Harry Burgwyn, later the "Boy Colonel," and his slave Kinchen. "The novel's major theme," Burgwyn observes is "the complexity of the times and its institutions." He seeks to "bring 19th-century values to the reader instead of imposing modern values on the characters." The novel is a tale of black and white impressively told in shades of gray. His talk to the Round Table will emphasize the lives and relationship of Harry and Kinchen.
Gettysburg Photos Appear to Reveal Lincoln Center for Civil War Photography board member John Richter believes he has found the profile of President Abraham Lincoln in the deepest depths of two stereo photographs taken by Alexander Gardner just before Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. The two stereo views, the negatives of which are archived at the Library of Congress, were previously thought to have shown nothing more than the large crowd that had gathered for the dedication ceremony on November 19, 1863. But after a careful 3D examination of the smallest details of both photos - an examination made possible by ultra high resolution scans of the negatives made by the Library of Congress - the Center reports that Lincoln himself appears to be visible in both images. There are no close-up, clear views of Lincoln at Gettysburg, but his distinctive visage previously was discovered in the depths of two other photos. Any such interpretation is open to debate or dispute, and no one can say with 100 percent certainty that the person is Lincoln, just as no one can say with absolute certainty that it is Lincoln in the other two Gettysburg images taken on November 19, 1863 in which he has been identified. But the visual evidence is more than compelling, and it is backed up by documentary evidence and accounts by people who attended the ceremony. The images were projected for the first time during the premier of "Lincoln in 3D" a digital stereoscopic slide show presented to the annual Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg last month. In this case, however, the "new" images of Lincoln were found in the backgrounds of two images that were already well known among Civil War photo historians. After a comprehensive review of the images that included the first detailed 3D analysis of the details within them, Richter has concluded that both images were taken within about a minute of each other, and that they both show President Lincoln riding on horseback through a corridor of soldiers as he makes his way toward the speaker's stand. In the first view, Lincoln is seen in profile between two lines of troops. "When the military units reached the dedication site, they formed lines so the president would have a lane to the platform steps," author Frank L. Klement writes in The Gettysburg Soldiers' Cemetery and Lincoln's Address. In the second view, Lincoln appears to be saluting the troops with his white-gloved left hand as he continues down the lane. Klement writes that Lincoln had a pair of white riding gloves for the procession, and that the soldiers formed the corridor to salute the president as well as to keep the crowd back. Although the negatives have survived, no original prints on original Gardner mounts have ever surfaced, suggesting that Gardner never marketed the images. Richter believes that after making the stereo photographs, Gardner never bothered to make prints because the results seemed so disappointing. All he seemed to have on the plates were shots of the crowd, with people mugging for the camera in the foreground. Lincoln was not visible without enlarging the scene, which was not feasible in the commonly used photographic technology of the Civil War. Fortunately, he kept the negatives, which still survive after 144 years. And with today's digital technology, scholars can examine the smallest details of these and other Civil War photographic negatives, and gain a greater understanding of what the images show and why they were taken.
CWPT Begins Campaign to Preserve Glendale Battlefield The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), America's largest nonprofit battlefield preservation group, has begun a $4.1 million national campaign to preserve four key parcels of land associated with the Glendale Battlefield, also referred to as Frayser's Farm, in Henrico County. According to historians, the area targeted for preservation witnessed some of the most intense close-quarters and hand-to-hand combat of the entire Civil War. "We have a tremendous preservation opportunity at Glendale," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Until two years ago, practically none of the historic center of this battlefield was protected. Visitors had trouble finding so much as a place to pull off the road. If our campaign to save Glendale is successful, we will have saved nearly the entire battlefield from scratch." According to Robert E. L. Krick, historian at Richmond National Battlefield Park, "There has been nothing like it before in Virginia.... These acres do not fill in gaps or simply improve an existing picture. They are the core of the battlefield." Despite its historical significance, until recently nearly the entire Glendale battlefield remained vulnerable to development. The only areas protected were the tiny Glendale National Cemetery and a small preserved area on the outskirts of the main battle area. Citing numerous impending housing developments with names trading on the battlefield's history, Glendale was included in CWPT's annual list of most threatened battlefields in 2004 and 2006. Late in 2005, the first piece of Glendale's remarkable reclamation puzzle fell into place when CWPT began moving to acquire a crucial 39-acre tract at the very heart of the battlefield. "For the first time we had cause to celebrate a preservation success at Glendale," Lighthizer said. "Suddenly doors were opened and we could hope that not all of this hallowed ground would be lost to development." Today, preservationists stand on the cusp of preserving an additional 319 acres at the very heart of the battlefield. To get to this point, negotiations have stretched across many months and multiple meetings. However, CWPT is not yet ready to list the properties as saved; first, they must be paid for. Since these lands lie entirely within the authorized boundary of the Richmond National Battlefield Park, federal matching grants are not available for acquisition of these parcels. Instead, this land will be purchased almost entirely through the donations of private groups and individuals. Initial commitments to the project are approaching $1.5 million, including an extremely generous donation of $100,000 from the Richmond Battlefields Association. With 65,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Since 1987, the organization has saved nearly 25,000 acres of hallowed ground, including 11,700 acres in Virginia.
Pamplin Park and ACWC Announce Holiday Events Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier is inviting visitors to get into the holiday spirit with a 19th century-inspired Santa Claus. Guests can have their photograph taken with a Santa Claus dressed in 1860s costume. "We have invited `Civil War Santa' to the Park for many years," said Brian Musselwhite, Assistant Chief of Interpretation at Pamplin Historical Park. "People are always surprised to see that the image of Santa we know today originated 140 years ago during the American Civil War." Santa's outfit is based on an illustration by the famous cartoonist Thomas Nast. "Santa Claus in Camp" appeared on the January 3, 1863 cover of Harper's Weekly. Nast's drawing, based on descriptions of Saint Nicholas from Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" (more commonly known as "`Twas the night before Christmas"), shows Santa Claus visiting a Civil War camp and handing out gifts to children and soldiers. The illustration depicts Santa in his sleigh pulled by reindeer, with a long white beard, star-covered coat, stripped pants, and furry hat. Pamplin Historical Park will have a copy of the1863 Harper's Weekly cover on display for guests to enjoy. Using their own cameras, park visitors may take photographs with "Civil War Santa" at The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier from 10 am to noon and 1 to 4 pm on Saturday, December 15. Visiting "Civil War Santa" is free and open to the public. Pamplin Historical Park Members receive a 20% holiday discount on merchandise at The Civil War Store every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the end of the year. For additional information about taking pictures with "Civil War Santa" or the Members' discount, please call (804) 861-2408. On Sunday afternoon, December 16, the American Civil War Center (ACWC) will hold its Second Annual Holiday Happenings at Historic Tredegar. There will be reduced admission for adults ($4) and children ($2). The event features period music, light refreshments, children's activities, holiday displays and decorations from 1 to 5 pm. For more information call (804) 780-1865 or see the ACWC's website, www.tredegar.org
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2007
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Richmond Civil War Round Table Newsletter Rob Monroe, Editor 2416 Edenbrook Dr. Richmond, VA 23228-3040