Shakers in the Civil War

My literary/historical novel, Kindly Welcome: A novel of the Shakers in the Civil War, is now available on Netgalleys, should you be interested. With the extraordinary help of historians such as Julia Neal and Shelby Foote, the book is based on the fascinating and virtually unknown diaries of Shakers living at South Union, Kentucky, during the conflict. I’m easily contacted at the above email address, should you need additional information.

Linda Stevens (lindastevens1@nullbtinternet.com)

Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation – 2018 Speaker Series

Come join the Cynthiana Battlefields Foundation for their quarterly Civil War speaker series at Rohs Opera House in the heart of Cynthiana!  Open to the public, this event will be FREE to Foundation members, and $5.00 for all others.  Donations to cover speaker costs are also accepted.  

 
02/03/18 – 2:00 p.m.
Rohs Opera House
133 East Pike Steeet
Cynthiana, KY 41031

2:00 – Civil War 101

2:30 – Cynthiana Civil War 101

3:00 – David Mowery – Morgan’s Great Raid: Taking the War to the North

From July 2-26, 1863, while the great battles at Gettysburg and Vicksburg captured the attention of the American people, Confederate brigadier general John Hunt Morgan led nearly 2,500 cavalrymen on a daring raid into the North. Morgan’s objective was to distract the Union forces under Major General William Rosecrans and Major General Ambrose Burnside from building up enough momentum to wrestle the mostly pro-Union East Tennessee region from its Confederate occupants and push General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee beyond its supply base at Chattanooga. Morgan’s incursion into Indiana and Ohio would produce the effect he desired, but it would end with disastrous results for his famous division. Mowery’s presentation will discuss Morgan’s Great Raid as it passed through three Union-held states and circumvented Cincinnati, which at the time was the seventh largest city in the United States and which served as the headquarters for Burnside’s department. Morgan’s special-forces operation represented the pinnacle of Morgan’s strategic and tactical skills and the best of his division’s raiding capabilities. No other American mounted infantry division on horseback would ever achieve what Morgan’s raiders accomplished on the Great Raid of 1863.

David Mowery has been studying the Civil War for over 35 years, and during the course of this time, he has researched, visited, and site-documented over 500 Civil War battlefields across the United States. David has been a member of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table since 1995, and he joined the Ohio Civil War Trail Commission in 2001 to represent Hamilton County’s Civil War sites to the state of Ohio, and as a member of this volunteer group, he designed and historically validated the 557-mile John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail of Ohio. David has published two books on the subject of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan’s Great Raid through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, including its first campaign study, titled Morgan’s Great Raid: The Remarkable Expedition from Kentucky to Ohio, as well as the official guidebook of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail, titled Morgan’s Raid Across Ohio. David currently serves as the Chairman of the non-profit Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation, the all-volunteer group working to save Ohio’s only major Civil War battlefield.

Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Williams Lincolniana Collection unveiled at new MSU facility with Nov. 30 grand opening

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A $10 million addition to Mississippi State’s Mitchell Memorial Library, home of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and the prestigious Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana, will be unveiled with a Nov. 30 celebration at the land-grant university.

The 21,000-sq.-ft. library addition contains a state-of-the-art museum chronicling Grant’s life and his significance in American history and a gallery dedicated to the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana, a recent donation considered the largest privately owned Abraham Lincoln collection in America. With hundreds of thousands of historical documents and items housed on site, the new addition makes Mississippi State a leading destination for research on the Civil War and two presidents who shaped the course of American history.

            A 2 p.m. ceremony at the Grant Library on Thursday, Nov. 30, will officially open the new space. Invited guests include Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper. The celebration program is open to the public.

            “Mississippi State University is proud to manage and showcase the treasure trove of vital American history contained in the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. The university and new state-of-the-art addition to Mitchell Memorial Library provide an appropriate and beautiful home to such prestigious and revered collections, including the Frank J. and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana and MSU’s Congressional and Political Research Center,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “With the help of many visionary and hard-working leaders and scholars, MSU has become one of the nation’s foremost repositories for research into the Civil War era, a pivotal period in our nation’s history.”

            MSU is one of six universities housing a presidential library. The Grant Library is managed by the Ulysses S. Grant Association and MSU under the direction of John F. Marszalek, Grant Association managing editor and executive director, and Frances N. Coleman, MSU dean of libraries.

            Skip Wyatt of FoilWyatt Architects in Jackson, planned the overall facility expansion, and Washington, D.C.-based HealyKohler Design created the interior museum and gallery spaces. The Grant museum contains artifacts and interactive media that allow visitors to engage with the context of the times and discover intimate details of Grant’s personal life and beliefs. Brooklyn-based StudioEIS created four life-size statues to highlight different phases of Grant’s life—his time as a cadet at West Point, commanding general of the U.S. Army, the nation’s 18th president, and a statesman writing his memoirs in the final days of his life.

            The gallery for the Frank J. and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana displays, on a rotating basis, more than 100 of the 17,000 priceless artifacts and 12,000 books included in the Williams Collection, which the former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice and his wife, Virginia, have amassed over several decades. The gallery exhibit includes commentary from Williams on the relevance and importance of featured items.

            The new addition to Mitchell Memorial Library also contains MSU’s Congressional and Political Research Center, which houses nine congressional collections, including cornerstone anthologies on MSU alumni and former U.S. congressmen Sen. John C. Stennis and Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery. Other collections include those of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, former U.S. Reps. David Bowen and Alan Nunnelee, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, former Mississippi Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, State Rep. Steve Holland and State Senator Jack Gordon. 

            Prior to the Grant Library’s grand opening, leading Abraham Lincoln authority Harold Holzer will deliver the inaugural Frank and Virginia Williams Lecture on Abraham Lincoln and Civil War Studies. Holzer’s lecture, open to the public, will take place at 10 a.m. in the Old Main Academic Center’s Turner Wingo Auditorium. Free parking will be available at the Old Main Parking Garage and behind the Longest Student Health Center. 

            For more information, see the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library website at www.usgrantlibrary.org, the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection website at library.msstate.edu/williamscollection and the Grand Opening events website at library.msstate.edu/grantopening

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Scott Parkinson to speak before HCWRT – Nov 8

Scott Parkinson to speak before the Hamilton Civil War Round Table on Nov 8th.

Topic: Miami University and Oxford’s Contribution to the Civil War

Place: Golden Dragon Buffet, Hamilton West Shopping Center, 86 North Brookwood Ave., Hamilton, OH 

Battle of Bentonville Symposium – Sept., 2018

In September 2018 Bentonville Battlefield and the Friends of Bentonville Battlefield will host “Two Weeks of Fury” a symposium and whirlwind tour of the Carolinas Campaign.

The schedule includes tours of Wise’s Forks, Civil War Fayetteville, Averasboro, Bentonville and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Monroe’s Crossroads battlefield on Fort Bragg. Historians taking part in the program include Craig Symonds, John Marszalek, Eric Wittenberg, Mark Bradley, Wade Sokolosky, and Mark Smith.

Further information and registration can be found at http://fobb.net/2018Symposium.aspx.

 

Battle of Bentonville Symposium

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.

 

 

Order CCWRT Polo Shirt Online

At our September 21st meeting, a Cincinnati Civil War Roundtable polo shirt was introduced. This shirt can be purchased by clicking the below link. The price is $20.50 plus a 7% sales tax for a total price of $21.94 per shirt. If 2XL is ordered there a $2 additional charge.

To avoid mailing expense, your shirt can be pickup up at the next meeting. For shirts ordered after the 5th of the month, there is no guarantee they will be ready by the next meeting. 

Buy a CCWRT polo shirt, wear it with pride, and promote interest in the Cincinnati Civil War Roundtable.

Click Here to Order Your CCWRT Polo Shirt Online

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.

 

Morgan’s Raid Tour – May 18 & 19

Dave Mowery will be leading a tour of Morgan’s great raid from Sunman, IN to Williamsburg, OH on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19th.  Tour will be caravan style and is free.  More details to follow.

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