Battery Hooper Days – Aug. 19-20, 2017

Come to to the James Ramage Civil War Museum in Fort Wright, KY the weekend of Aug 19-20 to enjoy the 2017 edition of Battery Hooper Days.

Image from Cincinnati.com

Image from Cincinnati.com

Image from Cincinnati.com

Image from Cincinnati.com

Shop AmazonSmile and Support the CCWRT

Every time you shop at smile.amazon you’ll be helping out the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table. 

Amazon has a program known as AmazonSmile, which allows you to direct 0.5% of the price for items purchased on Amazon to the CCWRT.  This is a simple and automatic way for all of us to support the CCWRT at absolutely no cost to you.

If you currently shop using Amazon, please shop at AmazonSmile instead.  If you do not currently shop at Amazon, consider trying it out.  When first visiting AmazonSmile, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations. Please select the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table.  

If you spend $100, CCWRT will receive 50 cents. That may not seem like a lot at first, but many of us buy much more than mere books. The purchase of electronics, household items, and even food on AmazonSmile all qualify for CCWRT to receive a donation. These contributions can add up and will provide funds to the CCWRT to aid in helping our programs.  

 

You’ll feel good about supporting the CCWRT with things you would buy anyway.  

So, remember, shop at smile.amazon.com and support the CCWRT.

 

 

Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation

Please consider becoming a member of one of the newest battlefield groups in the United States, the Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation.

It is the mission of the recently formed Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation, to preserve, interpret, and increase awareness of Cynthiana’s Civil War story.  There are opportunities on the far horizon to preserve battlefield ground, and in the interim more interpretation through tours and signage will help the battlefield visitor understand both engagements more fully.  The Foundation welcomes new members and donations via their website (cynthianabattlefieldsfoundation.org).  Help become a part of a true grassroots movement in the Bluegrass. 

 

Not familiar with the Cynthiana story?  Then read on!

 

Cynthiana and surrounding Harrison County, Kentucky, located just sixty miles south of Cincinnati along the Kentucky Central Railroad, was the scene of two engagements during the Civil War.  During the early summer of 1862, John H. Morgan led his small band of Kentuckians, Georgians, and Texans on a raid that had a direct impact on the Kentucky Campaign later that same summer and fall.  Morgan led his men to Cynthiana in mid-July, the town called later as the “best Rebel town in our Native State.”  Indeed, of the initial eight infantry companies raised in Harrison County in 1861, six went south to join the Confederacy.  The northern portion of the county, being of small hardscrabble farms and consisting of terrain that was not conducive to horse breeding, supported the North.  The citizenry of Cynthiana proper was a mixture of sympathies, while the southern portion of the county, with its more open and rolling terrain allowing larger farms, mostly supported the South.

The 1862 battle saw Morgan’s men go up against a few hundred home guards supported by small detachments from the 7th and 18th Kentucky Infantry Regiments.  The fighting took place within town, with Morgan’s main command trying to force its way across the Licking River at and near the covered bridge on the south edge of town while other parts of his command were dispatched to the west and east to surround the Union troops.  This tactic allowed the Confederates to surround the Federal forces, and resulted in fighting at the rail depot as well as near the court house (which still stands today). 

The 1864 battle is composed of three distinct and separate phases:  a town fight early in the morning of June 11th (with similar results to the 1862 battle), a later morning battle that same day a mile north of the town near Keller’s Bridge, and a third engagement to the east of town on the early morning of June 12th.  In the first two phases the Confederates faced mostly Ohio “Hundred Days Men” from the 168th and 171st Ohio National Guard with some home guard and Kentucky volunteer support from the 47thand 52nd Kentucky Infantry Regiments.  In the final phase Morgan faced seasoned units totaling 2,400 men under the command of the controversial yet effective Stephen Burbridge.

Those who are not serious students of the war may not be aware of the two battles that took place in town and the surrounding areas, or the noticeable qualitative difference of Morgan’s 1862 soldiers as compared to his 1864 force.  In 1862 Morgan led a smaller force, but the troops were more disciplined and he had his brother-in-law, Basil Duke, to assist with operational planning.  After the Great Raid in the summer of 1863, many of these experienced troopers were in Northern prisoner of war camps, including Duke and other important officers. 

When Morgan went to Joe Johnston in early 1864 to obtain the core of his remaining experienced troopers for his new command, Johnston balked and would release them, and quality of troops that Morgan recruited was far inferior to his 1862 and 1862 soldiers.  This lack of quality and discipline led to bank robberies, stealing from local citizens (many of whom were sympathetic to the Southern cause), and even burning Cynthiana’s business area which resulted in the loss of thirty-seven buildings (3.7 million in 2016 dollars).  The raiders’ complete collapse on June 12th dealt by the Federals under Burbridge showed that Morgan was perhaps more focused on glory than adhering to the dictates of military order, and perhaps more desirous of reuniting with his wife than conducting a successful campaign.

 

Development Threat to Nashville’s Civil War Fort Negley

 

 

Dear fellow CWRTs,

Fort Negley, just south of downtown Nashville, TN, on St. Cloud Hill, is the largest limestone fort built during the Civil War.  The Union engineers that designed it were heavily influenced by the 17th Century French military engineer Sebastien Vauban; the fort remains a classic example of that style.  It was the anchor of the Union defense lines built to protect the city after its capture on February 25th, 1862 by the Army of the Ohio under Gen. Don Carlos Buell.  The lines ran in a curve with both flanks being anchored on the Cumberland River.  Fort Negley was filled with numerous heavy cannons, along with other forts and redoubts built for the defenses and it is the only such fort remaining from the entire double line of fortifications.

The crucial Battle of Nashville was fought just south of the fort on December 15th and 16th, 1864.  The first Union shots fired in the battle came from the fort, which had also fired on the first Confederate defense lines prior to this while they were being built.  Additionally, the labor of hundreds of former slaves was used to build this fort along with the rest of the defenses of Nashville and a Freedman’s Camp was close by.  The fort fell into disrepair until the WPA era of the mid-20th Century when it was rebuilt.  However, Nashville let it get grown over with trees and brush again until the 2000s when it was cleaned up and became a unit of the Nashville Metro parks Department.  An interpretive center was also built onsite and today Civil War tourists from all over come and enjoy walking through the fort and seeing the amazing views of downtown Nashville and the Brentwood Hills to the south, where the first day of the Battle of Nashville was fought.

Like many Southern cities, Nashville is booming thanks to a great Tennessee economy.  Construction cranes dot the skyline as one high rise after another goes up in downtown.  The projections for growth for the next 20-25 years calls for 1 million new residents in Middle Tennessee, centered around Nashville.  This massive growth has already created large scale problems like traffic and housing shortages and developers left and right have been drawing up plan after plan to hopefully solve that.  One such developer has his sights set on Greer Stadium, the old home of the minor league baseball team the Nashville Sounds (who have a new stadium).  Built just east on what is technically Fort Negley property with a large parking lot, the city has been trying to decide what to do with the stadium for three years.  Green space, mixed use developments and more have been brought forward.  Naturally, the historic preservation community prefers green space which would allow for a greater interpretation of Fort Negley’s large footprint.  Some Civil War trenches remain behind the stadium as does a historic cemetery.  No archeological survey of the grounds of Fort Negley has ever been done for either the fort , the Freedman’s Camp site nor remaining earthworks.

In a recently revealed plan, one developer seeks to use part of Greer Stadium and turn it into an open air market as the centerpiece of a new mixed-use development with condos, allegedly low cost housing, stores and more.  This planned monstrosity will basically dwarf Fort Negley on three sides and with the high rise buildings as part of the plan, obfuscate the views looking south.  There is to be no, much needed, expansion of the Fort Negley parking lot. 

It has been proven time and again that history tourism brings in far more money than any other – people have more to spend, stay longer, etc. if you give them something to see and promote it so they know about it.  The traffic count for the area will explode making it even more difficult to get to the fort to visit.  Don’t believe me?  Look at what has happened at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA with the massive growth of Virginia Commonwealth University around it; their attendance has fallen off to the point that they are moving to new quarters down on the James River.

Traffic comes with big cities.  But traffic also drives people away from doing things just so they do not have to deal with it.  People spend enough time in traffic just going to and from work five days a week; they do not want to deal with it on weekends when they want to do something fun.

Ms. Phillips’ article also brings out the tremendous loss of historic ground upon which sits the fort and its surrounding area, which was all part of the fort’s footprint.  Shall Nashville follow the same mistaken path that Atlanta did many years ago by paving over its history from the Civil War?  How does this travesty being proposed in Nashville compare to what is happening just a few miles down the road in Franklin where they lead the nation in reclaiming lost Civil War land and restoring it to how it looked over 150 years ago?  It is a pathetic failure on Nashville’s part.

Like so many other cities, Nashville has lots of places that are basically blight that can be redeveloped into something like in the above drawing; places that are not historic Civil War lands.  How about moving this thing there instead and leave Fort Negley be?

If you want to help stop this development, please contact the Mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry (megan.barry@nullnashville.gov), and the Nashville Metro City Council.  You should also contact the City of Nashville Metro Parks department and let them know how you feel about this.  Their email is – metroparks@nullnashville.gov.  The city’s web site is www.nashville.govLet them hear the voices of the Civil War community of America and stop this development.

By Greg Biggs (The above is the opinion of Greg Biggs, a member of the Nashville CWRT and not necessarily the opinion of the Nashville CWRT as a whole or the staff of Fort Negley Park, a unit of Nashville Metro City parks.)

Ladies and gentlemen of the Civil War Roundtables of America – if you would like to come to Nashville and do something historical besides the antebellum homes, President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage or the nearby battlefields of Nashville, Franklin and Stones River, and would like to see America’s only surviving limestone fort left uncluttered, PLEASE, take the time to send emails to the metro government of Nashville and the parks department.  Parks should know better than this as it is owned by them.  We NEED your help quickly so I am asking you to put this into your newsletters, send out to your membership, and PLEASE help us stop this development!!!  The clock is ticking and a lot of money is on the table with this.  Nashville has other blighted places that could be redeveloped other than Fort Negley so help us here in Middle Tennessee stop this nonsense!  Please let the people running Nashville hear loud and clear from America’s great Civil War community!

We appreciate any and all help you can render by sending those emails out today!  Thanks for your time.

Greg Biggs

President, Clarksville, TN CWRT

Program Chair, Nashville CWRT and Bowling Green, KY CWRT

 

 

 

Mariemont Junior High History Class

On Wednesday, May 3rd five members of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table spent the day at Mariemont JH offering guidance for 8th graders in preparation of their Civil War reports. This is the third year in a row volunteers from the CCWRT have helped history teacher Joe Regruth and his students. Thanks to Alan Berenson, Tom Breiner, Gary Johnson, Jerry Wild, and Tom Williams for sharing their knowledge and representing the CCWRT.  Well done!

Spring Mill, IN Civil War Symposium – Aug 17-19

You are Invited to Attend the long-awaited first Annual Summer Symposium of the CWEA: The Spring Mill Civil War Symposium August 17-19, 2017 at the Spring Mill Inn at Spring Mill State Historic Park in Mitchell, Indiana, with Stephen Lee Ritchie, Thomas Y. Cartwright, Stephen Davis, David L. Mowery, Michael B. Murphy, Dale K. Phillips, James I. “Bud” Robertson, Darryl Smith, Craig L. Symonds, Jeffry D. Wert and Brian Steel Wills.

We thought about creating an event such as this for a long time – a corollary to our annual Sarasota, Florida symposium in January – a program in an appealing place where folks could learn much about Civil War history from top authorities, while making friends, dining well, browsing books, and the like. Sarasota has the warm, white sands of Lido Beach in the throes of winter – and now, at Spring Mill, we have shade trees, nature trails and gurgling brooks in the middle of summer.

It took awhile to find the right venue – some resorts were too expensive; others were too rigorous (bring your own sheets and pillows, etc.). And then one day, Steve Ritchie said, “Why don’t we hold it at Spring Mill in Indiana? I’ve stayed there many times and it’s great.” And that’s the story. Positioned smack dab in the Midwest, our base at the Spring Mill Inn is an easy drive for so many who live in the heartland. It is accessible from three airports: 68 miles from Louisville; 81 miles from Indianapolis; and 124 miles from Cincinnati.

The historic 73 room Inn features warm and cozy country decor, with fully modern accommodations including an indoor/outdoor pool, and has full service dining.The nightly room rate for our attendees is terrific: $80.99 + tax. The food is hearty – buffet-style group lunches and Friday dinner will feature such entrees as roast beef, fried chicken, baked fish and eggplant parmesan, with sides and salads, and desserts like cherry cobbler and persimmon pudding (which Steve tells us is delicious?!). Our Saturday night dinner will be an old-fashioned cookout.

On the grounds you can visit the Limestone Grist Mill at the restored Pioneer Village, dating back to the early 1800’s and the Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom Memorial which honors America’s second man in space. The resort is a haven for lazy summer repose, with plenty of opportunities for recreation – nature hikes, cave tours, mountain biking and the like.

We have assembled an All-Star Faculty of Presenters – and they are as excited as we are about this event and its longterm prospects for success. Our 2017 program, at which we expect to host 90-100 of you, will consist of eleven talks on various aspects of Civil War history plus discussions on books led by the good folks from Owens & Ramsey Booksellers of Richmond, VA and from the Indiana Historical Society. Don’t Miss This One!

http://www.cwea.net/sites/default/files/print-versions/2017%20Spring%20Mill%20Symposium.pdf

 

ROEBLINGFEST 2017

RoeblingFest 2017 commemorated the 150th anniversary of the completion of the iconic John A. Roebling Bridge. Festivities took place on Saturday, June 17th in the Roebling Point area at the Covington end of the bridge. This was the 13th Annual RoeblingFest.  Billed as a Celebration of Art, Architecture, History, and Engineering.  RoeblingFest is an activity of the Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee — the citizens group dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the John A. Roebling Bridge.

The Cincinnati Civil War Roundtable manned a table at this event.  Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out.  Hopefully I few more tri-staters now know about the CCWRT.

Below is a link to the event website.

http://www.roeblingbridge.org/roeblingfest/

 

 

History of the bridge during the Civil War era

Construction began on the historic suspension bridge between Covington and Cincinnati in 1856, but work soon halted due to the Panic of 1857.  In July 1858, operations resumed again, albeit with a smaller workforce. Only one tower was to be worked on at this time. Work was again delayed during the years 1859–60  with the death of the president of the construction company.  

Upon a threatened siege of Cincinnati from Confederate forces in 1862, a pontoon bridge was built to span the Ohio River allowing Union troops to cross and construct defenses. After the invasion threat subsided, it became obvious that a permanent structure was vital. Money from investors now came pouring in. With new funding in place, machinery was ordered, materials began arriving, and new derricks were built. However, a new threat of invasion in 1863 caused another temporary pause in the work. In the spring of 1864, work resumed once more. The Civil War depleted the work force on the project, hindering speed and efficiency. Nevertheless work on the bridge proceeded steadily throughout the rest of the war.

In September 1865 the first two wire ropes were laid.  With the Ohio River “spanned,” there was a final push to complete the project even through floods and freezing temperatures. The cabling of the bridge went at a feverish pace, having about eighty wires taken across the river per day. Hundreds watched the spider-like process from both shores. And on June 23, 1866, the last wire was taken across. Suspenders were hung from the cables by the end of August and 600,000 feet of oak lumber was laid as the floor across 300 wrought iron suspended beams. Two tracks for streetcars were laid. Wrought iron trusses were added, running the length of the bridge.

On December 1, 1866, pedestrians walked upon the bridge, known locally only as “The Suspension Bridge,” for the first time. Over 166,000 people walked across in the first two days. Final touches were put on the bridge over the next few months, and construction would officially end in July 1867. When the Roebling Bridge was formally opened on January 1, 1867, the driver of a horse and buggy was charged a toll of 15 cents to cross; the toll for three horses and a carriage was 25 cents. Pedestrians were charged one-cent.

A Painstaking Mission to Save Atlanta’s Colossal Civil War Painting

ATLANTA — What, exactly, do you do with a 130-year-old work of art, mythmaking and Civil War history that is longer than a football field, more than 40 feet tall and urgently in need of a new home?

This city is finding out. After decades of deepening disrepair and disinterest in the painting commonly known as the Atlanta Cyclorama, workers this month are moving the panorama as part of a $35 million plan to rescue and maintain a titanic, deteriorating example of an art form that has mostly disappeared.

Saving “The Battle of Atlanta,” which is among the largest oil paintings in the world, has proved to be an undertaking of remarkable complexity. It is rife with logistical tests, engineering quandaries, curatorial challenges and political and racial sensitivities that linger more than 150 years after Gen. William T. Sherman’s military campaign here. Yet after taxpayers spent years supporting an imperiled painting in a building troubled by leaks and temperature fluctuations, formal opposition to the effort, which is privately funded by multiple philanthropists, is strikingly scarce.

“The fact that this painting has survived when so many others were left out to mold and rot and get burned up and whatever is nothing short of a miracle,” said Gordon L. Jones, the senior military historian and curator at the Atlanta History Center, which reached a license agreement with the City of Atlanta to display the cyclorama.

 

“The Battle of Atlanta” is among the largest oil paintings in the world. Philanthropists have donated $35 million to help relocate, restore and maintain the 1886 painting over the next 75 years. CreditAtlanta History Center

 

Click below link for full story.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/08/us/a-painstaking-mission-to-save-atlantas-colossal-civil-war-painting.html?_r=1

2017 Preservation Project

Our Preservation Committee selected the John Parker House as  our primary 2017 preservation project. As a secondary project, we are making a donation to the Battle of Richmond (KY) Association for the purchase of a limber

For more information about both projects and how to make a donation, click the Preservation tab.

Your generosity is appreciated.