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Rob Monroe, President               Gary Cowardin, Editor    
9733 Fireside Drive                 1404 Lorraine Ave.       
Glen Allen, VA 23060                Richmond, VA 23227-3735            

"Commander Hunter Davidson: An Officer of Four Navies" by John Coski 7:30pm, Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at the First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA.,
4602 Cary Street Road, 23226. A parking lot is available behind the church with an entrance off the parking lot to the right and up a few steps into the DINING HALL on the left. Hunter Davidson (1826-1913) warrants a footnote in Civil War and military history as the man who made "the first successful application of Electrical Torpedoes or Submarine mines in time of war and as a system of defence." Son of a U.S. Army officer and brother of a Union brigadier general, Davidson was an early graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and was a professor there when he "went South" in 1861. His Confederate career was as diverse and distinguished as was his U.S. Navy career. Confederate defeat and Reconstruction left Davidson a self-described "hard up Confed" casting about for a job to support his family. The challenge he faced was the same one that brought Robert E. Lee to the presidency of Washington College and transformed many former generals into insurance agents, but the course Davidson plotted for himself was unique. With this talk, John Coski returns to the subject of his 1996 book, Capital Navy: The Men, Ships, and Operations of the James River Squadron. He is also the author of The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem (2005), The Army of the Potomac at Berkeley Plantation: The Harrison's Landing of 1862 (1989) and more than 150 published essays, articles, and reviews. While attending Mary Washington College, John worked summers at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania and Antietam battlefield parks, then earned his Ph.D. in history at the College of William and Mary. He has worked at The Museum of the Confederacy (now part of the American Civil War Museum) since 1988, where he has been a White House guide, historian, director of the Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library, editor of the quarterly magazine, and Director of Research and Publications. Outside of his work at the Museum, John continues to work (slowly) on a history of Belle Isle, as well as on the life of Hunter Davidson, among other projects, and enjoys life in Westover Hills with his wife, Ruth Ann, and their dog, Portia. Meeting Attendance for the November Dinner Meeting: 60 NOTE: Please put on your NAME BADGE on when you arrive for the meeting. (They will be on a table near the back or side of the room.)
Message from Our President
Richmond Civil War Round Table lost one of its best supporters and most popular speakers when Dr. James I. "Bud" Robertson Jr. passed away at St. Mary's Hospital on November 2. We announced his passing and had a moment of silence before our dinner meeting last month. Ironically, Dr. Robertson had been our scheduled speaker for last year's dinner but had to cancel due to his health. Born in Danville in 1930, Dr. Robertson earned his bachelor's degree in history from Randolph-Macon College and his master's degree and doctorate from Emory University. In the early 1960s he was appointed the executive director of the Civil War Centennial Commission by President Kennedy. Dr. Robertson joined the faculty at Virginia Tech in 1967 and the classes he led on the Civil War soon made him legendary. He taught about 300 lucky students each semester for the next 44 years. When he retired in 2011, it was estimated that Dr. Robertson had been professor for roughly 25,000 students. Through the years he made hundreds-quite possibly thousands--of speaking appearances across the country and authored or edited more than 40 books. He won eight national awards for what many consider his magnum opus, "Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend." I recall hearing Dr. Robertson speak at a book festival in Charlottesville about 20 years ago. The audience he spoke to was primarily comprised of book enthusiasts rather than historians. During his Q & A after his presentation, someone asked him (paraphrasing), "Was the Civil War really fought over slavery? Wasn't slavery being phased out in the South?" Dr. Robertson quickly but politely corrected the man stating slavery had never been more important to the South than it was on the eve of the Civil War. As an example, he noted that slave labor was beginning to be used in mines in Southwest Virginia by 1861. "Whenever I hear someone say the war was fought over states' rights," Dr. Robertson continued, "I ask them to name two or three of them." No one could offer anything other than slavery. His point had been made. On many occasions Dr. Robertson would famously state, "History is the greatest teacher you will ever have." Maybe so, but Bud was a pretty good one too. Rob
Our 2020 Speakers List is now Online RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2020 Great lineup - Thanks Ulli
A Message from our Secretary Andy Keller This month's meeting is the last of the current administration, so it is at this meeting that we elect our new officers. Please bring a pen or pencil to use or share to mark your ballot. January 1 marks the beginning of our 2020 dues year. Renewal dues for individuals are $35 and $45 for couples sharing the same address. Dues may be paid as late as February 15 without incurring the $10 late fee (It was reduced from $25 in October). You do not need to fill out a new membership form, but if you have had a change of name, address, telephone or email then you should let me know that so we can update our records. You can email that to me at: I would encourage you to put this annual payment on autopilot by asking your bank to send me a check for your dues in January of each year. Just make sure it is a check and not an electronic payment since we are not prepared to handle those. If you pay in cash at a meeting, I will give you a receipt so do not let me forget. My address is: Andy Keller (RCWRT) 9701 Fireside Drive Glen Allen, VA 23060-6280 I hope you will renew and invite a friend to join as well. Andy 2020 RCWRT Constitution
Upcoming Events/Links
National Park Service Richmond
Richmond Battlefields Association News & Events
Visit the American Civil War Museum at Tredegar and the White House of the Confederacy
Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier
Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours
RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2019 RCWRT Monthly Speakers for 2020
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©R.C.W.R.T. 2019