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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 Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas Newsletter please use the Newsletter button in the Menu. 

 

     
    VOL. XXXIX, No. 8, AUGUST 2003/FOR THE MEETING TUESDAY, AUGUST 26
    Our 39th 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. 
    Online:  www.civilwarbuff.org
    Charles Durnett, President  /  Jerry L. Russell, Editor,
    Dues $15 Per Year VISITORS WELCOME! 
    VISIT THE BATTLEFIELDS WHEN YOU CAN...WHILE YOU CAN 
    Forrest in the Summer of  64.
    by Dr. Brian Steel Wills, UVA- Wise

    Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest is one of the favorite topics of many in our Round Table.  Born in poverty in Tennessee in 1821, Forrest rose from poverty to become a wealthy businessman and Memphis alderman (with only about six months of formal schooling).  He raised and mounted a battalion at his own expense in October, 1861, and was commissioned Lt. Col. to command them.

    Audacious, daring, bold, brave  all describe Forrest.  His operations during the Atlanta Campaign led Sherman to say, "That devil Forrest" . . . must be hunted down and killed if it costs ten thousand lives and bankrupts the Federal treasury.

    We are fortunate to again have Dr. Brian Wills visit us from Virginia this month to talk to us about Forrest in the Summer of 1864. Be sure to tune in to Channel 11 (KTHV, Comcast 10) for the noonday show on Monday, August 25, when Brian will appear with B. J. Sams (thanks to arrangements made by member Jim Ayers!).

    THANKS TO 

    Beau Cantrell for his talk  last month on Rooney Lee.  As always, Beau gave a great presentation.

    PROGRAMS TO COME:

    September 23, 2003--Dr. Dan Sutherland, The Uni-versity of Arkansas, Guerilla Warfare.

    October 28, 2003--Landon Smith, Jackson, Miss., Prai-rie d'Ane.

    November 25, 2003--Rob MacGregor, Little Rock, Jefferson Davis, Before & After the Civil War.

    (Election of Officers)

    December, 2003--No meeting.

    WELL OVER 100 people have signed up for the 
    Civil War Symposium at the Old State House on Saturday, August 23.

    The all-day program will feature presentations by:
    Mark Christ, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
    Michael Dougan, Arkansas State University
    Doug Larson, Prior Lake, Minnesota
    Cynthia DeHaven Pitcock, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    Bill J. Gurley, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    Bobby Roberts, Central Arkansas Library System.

    The deadline for registration was last Friday but if you haven't signed up and want to go, you can sign up for the program (but NOT for the barbecue lunch) by calling Georganne Cisco at 324-9684. 

    The cost for program only is $10.
    It will be an outstanding all-day program that you would all enjoy.
    Plus, the 2002-2003 Patrick Cleburne Award, given by our Round Table, will be awarded after lunch.

     HOWARD STEBBINS, one of our most devoted members and certainly our oldest, was honored, along with his wife Elsie, by the Arkansas Arts Center.  Earlier this month, the Arts Center presented them with the Winthrop Rockefeller Memorial Award for their volunteer efforts and their generous support.
    Congratulations, Howard!

    THE BATTLEFIELD at Mansfield, Louisiana, is a treasured site to all who honor our history.  It is the site of the largest battle west of the Mississippi and one of the last Confederate victories. Lignite mining operations over the last few years have endangered large parts of the battlefield. Friends of Mansfield Battlefield was formed to help preserve as much of this sacred ground as possible and to bring more attention to this shrine of Southern Valor.  On October 3-5, 2003, the first Mansfield Commemorative Weekend will be held.  All funds received from this will go to the betterment of the battlefield.
    On Friday Oct. 3 there will be a reception in the museum for attendees and re-enactors will be set up on the grounds to do programs for school groups.

    On Saturday Oct. 4 there will be various speakers at the battle park.  Among those scheduled to appear are SCV Commander in Chief Ron Wilson.  A boxed meal will be provided while attendees view a noontime re-enactment.  Saturday night there will be musical entertainment.
    On Sunday morning Oct. 5 there will be a memorial service.

    The cost for the whole package is $50.  This includes the reception, the conference, the noontime meal and the musical entertainment.  If any wish to attend only the conference, the speaker portion of the day, they can do onsite registration for $15.

    All proceeds go to improve the Battle Park.
    Please send your checks to:  Chuck McMichael, c/o Mansfield Weekend, 7734 W Lakeshore Drive, Shreveport, La 71107.  Make checks payable to Friends of Mansfield Battlefield.

    For more information contact Chuck McMichael, 318-929-4848.  If you can take part in the re-enacting aspects, contact Paul Gramling, 318-925-8345.
     
     

    HAVE YOU WRITTEN

    about Mansfield Battlefield yet to Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco (a candidate for Governor in the October election, who is responsible for parks & tourism stuff into which Mansfield falls)???
    Write her c/o State Capitol, Baton Rouge LA 70804 (and send a copy, please, to Gov. Mike Foster at the same address, and U.S. Senator John Breaux and U.S. Senator Mary Landrieux, c/o U.S. Senate, Washington DC 20510).

    Write her today!
    The Friends of Mansfield Battlefield need your help, as explained above.  Join if you can; at least write these letters to let these Louisiana public officials know that people CARE about Mansfield Battlefield.
    REMEMBER...
    BATTLEFIELD PRESERVATION
    IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT!

    NOTED MILITARY HISTORIAN
    and author James Bradley will appear at a reception and book signing to benefit the MacArthur Museum of Military History from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 15. 

    The book signing will be followed by a lecture at 8 p.m. Bradley's book, Flags of Our Fathers, was a New York Times #1 bestseller.  It was described by the late Stephen Ambrose at ?the best battle book I have ever read,? and Steven Spielberg has acquired the movie rights. The New York Times 

    HERE IS INFORMATION from our past president Carl Moneyhon, professor of history at UALR:

    Jerry--Attached is what I think is the final schedule for the [Civil War] course [to be offered this fall at UALR].  The course will meet on Wednesdays from 6-8:40 and will hold sessions at the Alumni Center at UALR.  There will be two special meetings associated with Tony Horwitz [author of Confederates in the Attic] and Ken Burns (producer of PBS' Civil War).

    Horwitz will be in on a Friday evening (Sept. 12), meet with the class from 5 to 6 and then give a public lecture at 7 (probably at the Darrah Center at CALS).  Burns will meet with the class for lunch on Monday (Nov. 3) and then give a public lecture at 4:30 that afternoon, probably on campus at UALR. 
    Anyone who wants to enroll for the course should contact Johanna Miller Lewis, chair of the department of history at UALR.  Her approval is necessary to get into the course.  She can be reached at 569-3235.

    TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (Aug. 8, 2003)
    History 4390/5390 Dr. Johanna Miller Lewis 
    Special Topics in History:  The South in Popular Culture
    Dr. Carl H. Moneyhon 
    Autumn Term 2003, 569-3235
     Searching for a Common History: The Civil War in Contemporary America

    Purpose of the Course:
    The American Civil War remains a topic of considerable interest and often of contention.  The Letters to the Editor column of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with their often acrimonious discussion of the causes of The War, affirm the importance of The War to many people today.

    Questions concerning the naming of  Confederate Hall at Vanderbilt University, the Rebel mascot at the University of Mississippi, the construction of a monument to Abraham Lincoln in Richmond, and the flying of the Confederate battle flag at state monuments testifies to the geographical breadth and the intensity of the conflict generated.

    At least with regard to the Civil War, the past is not dead and its history continues to be used for a variety of purposes.

    This course explores why it remains so vital, introducing students to groups and individuals for whom The War has special meaning, allowing them to present their own views of The War and providing time for class discussion of their perspectives.

    The central theme of this course is the question: Why does the Civil War remain such an important part of the thought of many Americans?  An answer may allow us also to explore other critical issues concerning modern life.  As The War has become increasingly a point of division, is it possible to find a common history that can serve to integrate rather than divide?

    Assessment:
    Those students taking this course for credit will be expected to prepare a paper analyzing the readings assigned for each session.  Grades on these papers and a term paper answering a question relevant to the course and agreed upon with the instructors will be the basis for the course grade.  Reading assignments appear in the syllabus.

    Tentative Schedule:
    Aug. 27 The Academic Perspective on the Civil War
    Presentation and discussion Carl Moneyhon, Professor of History at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and author of various books on the Civil War. Sept. 3 Creation of the Lost Cause Myth

    Presentation and discussion led by Professor Fred A. Bailey, Chair, Department of History at Abilene Christian University and author of numerous books and articles on the writing of Civil War history in the late 19th Century. 

    Assignments: Bailey ?Free Speech and the Lost Cause? in Arkansas, Arkansas Historical Quarterly 55 (Summer 1996), 143-166; Bailey, ?Free Speech and the Lost Cause in the Old Dominion,? Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 103 (April 1995), 237-66; ?Mildred Lewis Rutherford and the Patrician Cult of the Old South,? Georgia Historical Quarterly, 78 (Fall 1994), 509-35. Start reading Confederates in the Attic.

    Sept.12 A Journalist's Perspective on the War
    Tony Horwitz: Confederates in the Attic.  Special Class Meetings and time: Class will meet with Mr. Horwitz for questions at 5 p.m. and then attend a public lecture at 7 p.m.  The place for class meeting and the lecture will be announced in class.

    Assignment: Have read Confederates in the Attic.
    Sept. 17 Public Groups with a Civil War Focus
    Presentations, a roundtable discussion, and open discussion.  Participants include Jerry Russell, National Chairman, Civil War Round Table Associates; Anthony Rushing, Civil War Re-enactor and SCV
    Assignment: Read Russell?s article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

    Sept. 24 The African-American Viewpoint
    Professor Lee Williams, Department of History, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Ronnie Nichols of Nichols Associates, Greensboro, North Carolina.  Mr. Nichols is a consultant on Civil War topics and a re-enactor who appeared in Glory.

    Oct. 1 Education
    Roundtable Discussion including teachers in the Little Rock Public Schools led by Kristin Mann of the Department of History, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and T. Harrison Baker, Professor Emeritus, UALR, and author of An Arkansas History for Young People, a textbook used in middle schools in Ark.
    Oct. 9 Museums Interpret and the Public Responds to Civil War Exhibits Presentation by Johanna Miller Lewis, Chair, Department of History at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock

    Roundtable Discussion with Stephen McAteer, Director of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and Bill Gatewood, Director of the Old Statehouse Museum

    Oct. 15 Television and Film Documentaries
     Presentations by Dale Carpenter, Professor of Journalism, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville on his Emmy Award winning documentary, Edge of Conflict and Mark Christ, Department of Arkansas Heritage on his film, Brothers in Arms, The Spence Brothers. 

    Oct. 22 Civil War Battlefield Parks 
    Presentations by Richard Davies, Director of Arkansas Parks and Tourism and a representative from Pea Ridge National Military Park.

    Oct. 29 Civil War in the Movies
    Professors Lewis and Moneyhon will discuss the use of the Civil War in historic movies and Professor Steve Anderson, Department of English, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will examine the war in more recent movies.

    Nov. 3 Ken Burns 
    This class will meet on a Monday instead of the usual Tuesday. Students will have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Burns at lunch (11:30 to 1:45) prior to his afternoon lecture at 4:30.  Please note the special date and times. Assignment: Have viewed The Civil War on your own.

    Nov. 12 Civil War Literature 
    Cold Mountain. Class will discuss this recent work of fiction, analyzing its historical accuracy and the values that it presents.  Discussion will be directed by Professors Lewis and Moneyhon and by a member of the Department of English, University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
    Assignment: Have finished reading Cold Mountain.

    Nov. 19 An Academic Overview 
    Presentation and discussion led by Professor David Goldfield, Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of Still Fighting the Civil War.

    Nov. 26 Thanksgiving

    Dec. 3 Student Presentations
     


    THE R. C. NEWTON CAMP

    of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and ABATE (Arkansas Bikers Aiming Toward Education) (a motorcycle club) will join efforts for a "Poker Run" on September 27.

    The Poker Run is a motorcycle trip with five stops.  At each stop the rider gets a playing card.  The riders meet back at the starting point and compare hands.  The one with the winning hand gets the prize.
    ABATE has adapted this format to a historical ride, stopping at five sites of historical interest in the period of the War for Southern Independence around Little Rock.

    The Poker Run will start and stop at M&M's Stop and Shop, Highway 5 & 64, El Paso, Arkansas.  At M&Ms they will have a sutlers tent, a black powder rifle and, (they hope) cannon demonstration; food will be furnished.  At each stop and at M&Ms there will be a SCV member to give a brief emphasis of the importance of the stop in Little Rock history.  The member will also be prepared to give information on membership in SCV.  A reenactor will be at each stop with the SCV member.  The reenactor will be in full uniform.  He will answer any question about uniform, weapons or gear. [Some of our Round Table members will participate.]

    Schedule (Saturday, September 27, 2003):
    9:30-10:00 a.m. The riders will assemble at M&Ms.
    10:00 a.m.  First bikes out on Poker Run.

    Stop #1 - Camp Nelson.  George Davis, reenactor (and RT member); Jim Ikerman, SCV.
    Stop #2 - Ashley?s Mills Battlefield.  Tom Ezell, reenactor (and RT member); Bob Davis, SCV.
    Stop #3 - Fourche Bayou.  Don Hamilton, reenactor; Chuck Durnett, SCV (both from the RT).
    Stop #4 - MacArthur Military Museum.  Larry Hulsey, reenactor; Jim & Bonnie Todd, SCV.
    Stop #5 - Reed?s Bridge.  Steve Shore, reenactor; Robert Giles, SCV.

    12 noon.  Last bike out of M&Ms on Poker Run.
    2:00 p.m.  Social gathering at M&Ms Stop and Shop: Pig Roast, Black Powder demonstrations, Quartermaster Tent, Antique Model ?T? display.  Winner of Poker Run announced.

    The money made from the event will be shared between the SCV and the Motorcycle club with a portion going to Children's Hospital.

    FROM THE R. C. NEWTON CAMP/SCV Newsletter:
    Confederate Burial Trench found
    near Helena's Battery D

    In April of this year, a macabre discovery was made near the site of the old Battery D earthworks in Helena, Arkansas.  A local contractor had purchased a wooded tract of land on the old battlefield area, and clear-cut it for development.  While the bulldozers were clearing the site, a number of human long bones were noticed to be protruding from the ground.  Work was stopped, and the Helena Police Department and the Arkansas Department of Heritage were notified.

     Investigations by the Helena Police, Phillips County Sheriff's Office, Department of Heritage, and the Arkansas Archaeological Survey indicated that the developers had disturbed a burial trench containing the remains of at least five, probably six Confederate soldiers killed in the July 4, 1863 Battle of Helena.  The remains showed clear signs of hasty burial, indicating they were part of a hasty clean-up of the battlefield.  The fellow at the bottom of the trench had been placed face down; the others were lying on their sides, approximately as they had been dragged to and rolled into the trench.

    The location of the grave site indicates that the soldiers, who remain unidentified, probably belonged to the 34th Arkansas or Hawthorne's Regiment, of Fagan's Arkansas Brigade.

    The remains have been recovered from the site, and are undergoing forensic analysis at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey's laboratory at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Arrangements have been made with the City of Helena and the Arkansas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans to bury the remains in the Confederate section at Maple Hill Cemetery in Helena once the AAS has completed its work.

    Current plans are to hold a funeral for these Confederate soldiers in conjunction with the MG Patrick R. Cleburne Memorial Service in Helena on March 20, 2004.

    Jenkin's Ferry Battle Flag now on Display at Camp Robinson

    The Confederate battle flag captured by the 9th Wisconsin at Jenkins' Ferry is now on display at the Arkansas National Guard Museum at Camp Robinson.  The text panels are currently small until the larger ones are finished.

    The flag belonged to one of Churchill's regiments, and the best guess of museum curator Anthony Rushing is that it would probably have been from one of the regiments from Gause's Brigade (26th, 32nd, or 36th Arkansas).

    Tappan's Brigade entered the swale in Cooper's field first and was pinned down including all color companies combined as a reserve.  One color company, that of the 27/38th Arkansas (consolidated) moved to the right and into the woods according to Silas Turnbo, so the flag is not that of Shaver's regiment.

    When Hawthorne's brigade came to their relief, Tappan's fell back into the woods.  It is hard to imagine that they left their colors since they were not being pressed back.

    Next Gause's brigade came to Hawthorne's relief and passed the swale driving the federals back temporarily.  This would have allowed Hawthorne's units to retire as well.  Soon however, Gause's units were repulsed and were forced to withdraw under pressure back across Cooper's Field and this is when the 9th Wisconsin and 50th Indiana followed and entered Cooper's Field for the one and only time during the battle.  It is also when they picked up 3 sets of colors.  The 9th and 50th then met up with the Texas brigades and beat a hasty retreat back across the field.  No other Union units ever entered the field again and they soon retreated across the river.

    Now there is no certainty as to which flags were taken. Rushing believes that the 27/38th was not one of them due to Turnbo's account nor that of the 22nd (King's 35th) since it exists at the Old State House Museum.  It is also hard to imagine all three of Gause's units dropping their flags, but they were being pressed back across the field.  It does not mean that previous flags were dropped when color bearers were shot and not recovered by the troops around them.  Until there is a primary document that details loss of flags during the battle it will always be speculation by all of us.  The conservator said the flag was not in use long and appears to be a ?presentation flag.?

    The flag is on display at the Arkansas National Guard Museum, located in the former post theater across from the Canteen on Camp Robinson.  Camp Robinson is an active military post, and is under the same increased security levels as other military bases.  If you come to see the flag and the Museum, be sure that you have some form of photo ID, current driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of liability insurance readily available.  Without these, the security guards won't let you in the gates.

    SEE YOU TUESDAY NIGHT for Dr. Brian Wills and Forrest in the Summer of  '64.
    And don?t forget the KTHV Noonday show on Monday, August 25!

    We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save!

    GOD BLESS AMERICA!