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Civil War Round Table of Arkansas

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Newsletter Archive - We have left these online because they contain valuable articles. For the most up-to-date Newsletter please use the Newsletter button in the Menu. 


    Our 37th Year Meets Fourth Tuesday, January-November/Founded March 1964 Fletcher Branch Library, H & Buchanan (East of University Ave.), Little Rock Program at 7 p.m. (Private Meeting Room) Dues $10 Per Year (Family Membership $12.50) / VISITORS WELCOME! David Gruenewald, President / Jerry L. Russell, Editor, 225-3996 VISIT THE BATTLEFIELDS WHEN YOU CAN...WHILE YOU CAN 

    Steele's Camden Expedition
    by Calvin L. Collier

    Our own Cal Collier will return for his annual visit (he comes back to LRAFB each year for the re-union of his W.W.II air group) and, as always, will share some of his time with the RT, presenting one of his inimitable programs.

    It has been years since Cal gave us a program on the Camden Expedition, and we still remember his comments and questions about the "lost" wagon train, abandoned by Steele during his hasty withdrawal from Jenkins Ferry. You won't want to miss this program, and we will be glad to welcome visitors from the North Pulaski CWRT and the Benton CWRT. See you there.

    THANKS TO GEORGE DAVIS for an outstanding presentation on the Battle of Franklin, and the comparison between Pickett's Charge and Cleburne's Charge. Well-equipped with visual aids, George kept the audience enthralled for a lengthy, fascinating program. We'll have to get him back next year!

    OUR PROGRAMS TO COME: June 26 -- Don Nall, Ambush At Poison Spring. July 24 -- Mark Christ, The Little Rock Campaign. August 28 -- Drew Hodges, North Pulaski CWRT, The Chancellorsville Campaign. September 25 -- Bill Gurley, UAMS College of Pharmacy, Diary of A Surgeon. October 24 -- Tom Ezell, Gen. T. A. Churchill. November 27 -- Gov. Sid McMath, TBA. January 22, 2002 -- Hank Simmons, UAMS, Confederate Money.

    Lonnie Spikes is doing an excellent job as our program chairman this year, and we have an outstanding line-up for the rest of the year. So keep on coming!

    WE'RE MOVING CLOSER to finalization of the details for the August meeting, but recent health problems have delayed the process.  We are having the meeting August 3-5.  We will have speakers all day Friday, August 3, and banquets Friday and Saturday. We will have Ed Bearss to lead the tours on Saturday and Sunday (Little Rock Campaign on Saturday, Camden Expedition on Sunday).  It's just that we haven't finalized arrangements with a host hotel, nor with the bus company.

    So, we don't know for sure how much the cost will be.  But it will be comparable to other meeting/tours of this caliber. There are lots of expenses to pay--speakers' expenses, meals, bus costs (which get higher every year due to fuel increases, rising insurance costs, etc.), and so forth.

    But you will get an outstanding three day meeting, with three lunches and two banquets, talks by Rugged & Sublime authors Ken Story, Dan Sutherland, Carl Moneyhon, and Tom DeBlack, R&S editor Mark Christ, historian-reenactor Tom Ezell, and historian Michael Dougan, plus two all-day motorcoach tours led by Ed Bearss, for $200-300.  (Start saving your money; you won't want to miss it!  It's a bargain!)  We will have a special mailing soon with specific prices and schedules, plus hotel information for out-of-towners.

    SEVERAL OF OUR MEMBERS, including Don Hamilton, Howard and Elsie Stebbins, Lonnie and Jane Ann Spikes, David and Alice Gruenewald, Bobby Roberts, and Jerry Russell, attended the Old State House Museum Association's annual banquet on May 11 at the Old State House, for the opening of the "Brothers In Arms: The Spence Family and the Civil War" exhibit, and the group's annual banquet.

    The featured speaker was Dr. James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Battle Cry of Freedom) and nationally-recognized Civil War historian.  The Princeton University history professor has written or edited a dozen books about the Civil War, and more than 100 articles and reviews for popular and scholarly historical journals.

    Dr. McPherson was named, in January 2000, the 2000 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities in Washington. Named for the third President of the U.S., the award is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. Several years ago, he worked closely with Arkansas Senator Dale Bumpers to save Manassas Battlefield from the bulldozers of developers.

    His topic last week was the Civil War's reception and reaction abroad during the War years, and it was an excellent, thought-provoking talk.  While the tickets were kind of pricey, it was certainly a worthwhile evening to support the Old State House Associates.

    Among the guests at the banquet (besides our members) were two federal judges who have spoken to our RT: Judge Henry Woods ("Gettysburg") and Judge William Wilson ("Pat Cleburne").

    "Brothers In Arms" opened May 13 as a major two-gallery exhibit of letters and other Civil War memorabilia.  Included in the exhibit are many of the rare Confederate flags that have been in the Old State House Collection for many years, as well as the kepi Pat Cleburne was wearing when he met his death at the Battle of Franklin in 1864, on loan from Nashville.

    When the Old State House re-opened a couple of years ago after a multi-million dollar facelift, the primary exhibit was "Into Secessia," a collection of letters by a Federal officer who served in Arkansas during The War. Many thought the "first" exhibit should have been Confederate, although "Secessia" was excellent.  If you thought that, here's your chance.

    The Guest Curator for the exhibit is Mark Christ, the community outreach director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP), and our July speaker.  In his 10 years with AHPP, Mark has been a strong advocate for the preservation of the state's many Civil War battlefields.  He developed and instituted the Arkansas Civil War Heritage Trail, a network of regional organizations dedicated to identifying, protecting, interpreting, and promoting Arkansas Civil War-related properties. He served as editor of Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War In Arkansas (1994), a military history overview of The War in Arkansas published by the University of Arkansas Press.  He received his B.A. degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1982 and an M.A. of liberal studies (with museum emphasis) from the University of Oklahoma in May 2000.  His thesis developed an interpretive plan for the Little Rock Campaign in August-September 1863, which is the topic of our July program.

    AS IF THIS EXHIBIT weren't enough for the Civil War/military history buffs of Arkansas, the new MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History opened May 19, after a tornado severely destroyed the roof on the Old Arsenal Building, one of the oldest buildings in Little Rock.  This 161-year-old building is described by the Museum's curator Stephen McAteer as the Museum's "prime artifact."  It was already a fixture in "downtown" Little Rock when Capt. Arthur MacArthur and his wife stopped in Little Rock on the way to a western Army assignment.  And on January 28, 1880, a son, Douglas, was born, who became one of America's most famous generals.  The MacArthurs moved on to New Mexico six months later, and the General--both famous and infamous for his service in WWII and Korea--in later life advised questioners that he was "a Virginian."

    But now the connection will be permanently displayed with this magnificent new museum's exhibits on the native son.  The MacArthur presentation for now is just part of a hallway among the opening exhibits, focusing on the retired five-star general's 1952 visit to Little Rock, his only return to our Capital City after his early infancy.

    The Museum's long-range plans include a permanent MacArthur Gallery on the second floor, which may include a period-furnished bedroom like the one where the future commander was born, from a time when the building was used, among other things, to house married junior officers.

    Two of our Round Table activists--Don Hamilton and Craig Rains--serve on the Museum Board of Trustees, and have labored mightily, along with other Trustees, to turn the disaster of 1999 into the wonderful new museum.

    The City of Little Rock, owner of what is officially known as The Tower Building in MacArthur Park, has provided seed money of $75,000-100,000 a year to help start the museum.  Private donations have also been received, along with corporate sponsorships.  Plus "Walk of Honor" bricks can be sponsored for $100 each, inscribed with the name of a veteran or an honoree.

    The RT underwrote a brick for our late president Robert Grubbs.

    FINALLY, add to your sightseeing list the Riverfront Pavilion in Riverfront Park, where the Civil War historical panel has (at last) been added to the history displays.

    We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save!