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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. 


    Our 40th 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. 
    Gaylord Northrop, President  /  Charles O. Durnett, Editor, 
    Dues $15 Per Year VISITORS WELCOME! 

    Dear Arkansas CWRT members:
    On behalf of all of the members of my family, I want to thank Jerry's "extended" local Civil War family for all your kindnesses during his illness and following his death. We deeply appreciate your phone calls, emails, cards, letters, flowers, food, visits, attendance at his Memorial Service, memorials and words of tribute.

    For almost 40 years (lacking just a few months) this Round Table received Jerry's thoughts and efforts. He was sometimes discouraged by lack of attendance, lack of attention to the RT effort, lack of new leadership in this RT, etc., etc.; but he never gave up! He has worried over the years that when he and Bill O'Donnell were gone, there would be no one willing to step in and do what needs doing to keep the group going.

    I am confident you won't let that happen. He loved and respected you as a group and individually. The greatest tribute you can pay Jerry Russell will be to continue his work and the work of others over the last 30 years -- the study of Civil War history and Battlefield Preservation.

    As Jerry would say: "Always remember and never forget -- 'We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save' and 'Battlefield Preservation Is Not A Spectator Sport'."

    Thanks again and God bless each of you.

    Alice Anne Russell

    Fire & Sword: Arkansas 1861-1864.
    Dr. Tom DeBlack, Arkansas Tech

    Our speaker will be talking about the process of writing a history of the Civil War and Reconstruction era in Arkansas (With Fire and Sword). He will discuss what he sees as some unique aspects of the war in Arkansas and why the period from 1861 to 1874 has to be viewed as a whole. 

    "I discovered a lot of things that I didn't know previously, and I found that objective accounts of this period are hard to come by," Dr. DeBlack said.

    Dr. Thomas A. DeBlack is an associate professor of history at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. He is a 1969 graduate of Nashville (Arkansas) High School and holds a B.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas (1973), an M.S.E. from Ouachita Baptist University (1979), and a Ph. D. from the University of Arkansas (1995). Dr. DeBlack taught in the public schools in Arkansas for twelve years. 

    He is vice-president of the Arkansas Association of College History Teachers and sits on the board of the trustees of the Arkansas Historical Association. 

    He is a co-author of Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas (University of Arkansas Press, 1994), co-editor of Civil Obedience: An Oral History of School Desegregation in Fayetteville, Arkansas, 1954-1965 (University of Arkansas Press, 1994), co-editor and contributor to The Southern Elite and Social Change (University of Arkansas Press, 2002), co-author Arkansas: A Narrative History (University of Arkansas Press, 2002), and author of With Fire and Sword: Arkansas 1861-1874 (University of Arkansas Press, 2003). Dr. DeBlack lives in Conway with his wife Susan, and their new daughter Susannah Grace, born November 23.


    A reminder to pay your 2004 dues.

    The dues are $15.00 for a family membership. Because of recent changes we are publishing a list of those who had paid their dues (at least what our records show). 

    If you have paid your dues and your name is not on the list, contact Brian Brown. If you would like to pay your dues contact Brian at:

    Brian Brown, Treasurer
    Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas
    P.O. Box 25501
    Little Rock, Ark. 72221

    James Ayers
    Randy & Deborah Baldwin
    Bill Beck
    Laura Bradach
    Edward Tom Bridgers
    Brian Brown
    Calvin Brown 
    Charles Calkins
    Bob Coons
    Dr. Tom DeBlack**
    Kay & Charles Durnette
    Vernon Dutton
    Dr John Ferguson
    Betty Gentry
    David Gruenewald
    Drew Hodges
    Logan Kaufman
    Donald G Linton
    Mary Cooper Miller
    Harvey Moore
    Gaylord Northrop
    Larry Puckett
    Henry L. "Hank" Rogers
    The Jan Sarna Family
    Robert F. Shaver
    Lonnie & Jane Anne Spikes
    Robert Trammell


        January 27, 2004 -- 
    Dr. Tom DeBlack, Arkansas Tech, 
    Fire & Sword: Arkansas 1861-1864. 
        February 24, 2004 --
        March 23, 2004 -- 
    Jim Woodrick, Jackson, Miss. CWRT, 

    March is the 40TH Anniversary 

    for the 

    Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas

        April 27, 2004 -- 
    Dr. William Shea, UA-Monticello, 
        May 25, 2004 -- 
    Cal Collier, Towson, Md., 
        June 22, 2004 -- 
        July 27, 2004 -- 
    Gaylord Northrop, Sherwood,
    Command & Control in Confederate Arkansas. 
        August 24, 2004 -- 
    Supt. Ralph Jones, Fort Gibson, Okla., 
    The Battle of Honey Springs. 
        September 28, 2004 -- 
        October 26, 2004 -- 
        November 23, 2004 --
        December, 2004 -- 
    No meeting Scheduled in December


    [Letter to the editor January 16, 2004 in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette]


    There came a time when the people of this country disagreed so bitterly among themselves that some could not go on living with the rest.

    A test of arms was made to decide whether America should remain as it was or become two different countries. The armies of those who believed in two countries were led by Robert E. Lee.

    What kind of man was he? He possessed every virtue of the great commanders without their vices. He was a foe without hate, a friend without treachery, a neighbor without reproach, a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guilt.

    They say you had to see him to believe that a man so fine could exist. He had never failed at anything in his upright soldier’s life. He was a born winner—except for once. In the greatest contest of his life, the war between the states, Lee was overwhelmed.

    Now there were men who came with smoldering eyes to Lee and said, "Let’s not accept this result as final. Let’s keep our armies alive. You can be our leader." But Lee shook his head. "Abandon your animosities and make your sons Americans," he said.

    And what did Lee do when his war was over? He took a job as president of a tiny college with 40 students and four professors. He had commanded thousands of young men in battle. Now he wanted to prepare a few hundred of them for the duties of peace. So the countrymen of Robert E. Lee saw how a born winner loses, and it seemed to them in defeat he won his most lasting victory.

    JIM IKERMAN Little Rock


    (From THE SENTINAL The Newsletter of the 6th Arkansas Infantry, Company A, C.S.A.)

    "A Fair Trial & a Fine Hangin’" 

    Marks 140th Dodd Memorial

    By Capt. Tom Ezell

    The Capitol Guards and the 37th Illinoisre-created the trial of David O. Dodd, Arkansas’ "boy hero of the Confederacy," before an audience of more than 200 on January 10, marking the 140th anniversary of Dodd’s death, and the return of the original Dodd memorial window to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. Here, "Capt. Rice," the judge advocate, (Tom Ezell) summarizes his case before the court (Steve Shore, Chuck Durnette, Harvey Moore, Jim Brigg, and Mike Loum). 

    The Capitol Guards and their pards of the 37th Illinois got off to a whomping good start for the new 2004 campaign season on January 10, with the return and dedication of the original David O. Dodd memorial stained glass window to the MacArthur Museum of Military History, where it will hang in the Civil War gallery, along with the authentic reenactment of Dodd’s trial by a military commission during the New Year’s holiday of 1864. 

    As promised, the 140th anniversary observance of the trial and execution of David Dodd was different than it has been in previous years, not only with the return of the UDC’s stained glass memorial window to the MacArthur Museum in Little Rock, but with a reenactment of Dodd’s trial, based upon the official records. A whole lot of legend and ladies’ poetry has grown up around Dodd’s story over the past 140 years, extolling the virtues of the "boy martyr of the Confederacy" and with each telling it gets tougher to separate fact from fiction. 

    One of the objectives of the this reenactment was to cut through some of the moonlight and romance to portray just what happened during the New Year’s holiday of 1864 as a historical account, and I think we did just that. From the comments I’ve received so far, the public believes that we succeeded as well. Attendance at the event was more than 250 persons, a banner day for the MacArthur Museum. 

    The event was opened with a welcome by Museum director Stephan McAteer, and the unveiling of the original window by Museum board director Ron Fuller and Arkansas UDC president Susan Railsback. Following the unveiling, the Museum formally opened its fundraising campaign to repair and restore the Capital Guards monument that stands in front of the Arsenal building in MacArthur Park.

    Erected in 1911 in memory of the "Flower of Little Rock", the Capital Guards pre-War militia company, the monument has deteriorated significantly over the past 90 years from the ravages of weather and vandalism. The MacArthur Museum has contracted with a conservator in Missouri to repair and restore the bronze statue, and in the next few weeks the statue will be taken down and sent to Missouri for restoration. 

    The amount needed to professionally clean, repair, and restore the statue is $35,000. The Museum has raised $20,000 of this amount through grants and large donations, and is now actively soliciting to raise the remainder of the funds to complete the restoration. During the museum program, the UDC fund for Confederate Sculptures in Arkansas presented the MacArthur Museum with a check for $5,000 toward the restoration of the Capital Guards monument. 

    A short recess followed as we got our stuff in place for the trial reenactment, and from the moment we convened the court, the audience appeared to be riveted. The Dodd reenactment was a team effort, featuring not only members of the Capitol Guards, but also significant efforts from the 37th Illinois, the 9th Arkansas, and the Early Arkansaw Reenactors’ Assn. 

    As we went onstage, the cast of characters included David Sesser (David O. Dodd), Ken Nations and Jerry Simpson as the provost guards, Tom Ezell as the judge advocate, Jason Massey and Gregory Ferguson as Fishback and Yonley, Dodd’s attorneys, Harvey Moore, Charles Durnette, Jim Brigg, Steve Shore, and Mike Loum as the members of the court; Robert Giles, Sheldon Gately, W.J. Monagle, Tyson Savell, Bob Black, Mark Kalkbrenner, and Larry Hulsey as witnesses for the prosecution, and Keith Peterson, Matt Bond, Will Hardage, Kathie Gately, and George Davis as witnesses for the defense. We had gotten together the previous weekend to read through the script and get everyone familiar with his or her part and what to expect, and despite the lack of practice, every person "nailed" it… 

    Several old veterans who had taken part in actual courts-martial came up later to comment how "real" that everything looked. Well, we tried… taking pains to get everyone suited up authentically, matching the scripts to the original records, and even presenting the evidence. All the evidence and documents made up for the court was authentic... that is, it said just what it was supposed to say, and was on the appropriate repro form, just in case somebody wanted to look at it. Everything from the convening order to the charge sheets, Dodd’s petitions and oath of allegiance, the letters, etc. Even the memorandum book had the writing in it, Mark K. was really trying to decipher my chicken scratches in there. 

    That was a real copy of the Regs and DeHart’s 1847 manual on courts-martial just in case one of the panel really did ask a question or need to look something up while the court was in session. 

    Following the conclusion of the trial reenactment, we gathered our gear and headed out to Mount Holly Cemetery for the traditional memorial service at Dodd’s grave site. As with the Museum program, we had a large turnout here – In addition to the two officers and color guard, there were 40 rifles in the ranks, as well as approximately 70 spectators and observers. For once, the ceremony held to the issue at hand, a military ceremony in honor of a fallen comrade. It closed with three sharp, crisp volleys as 40 rifles shattered the afternoon calm and black powder smoke drifted into the blue, crystal-clear sky. 

    Hmmm... maybe for next year...


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    Piece of History Returned by FBI in Ceremony at U.S. Naval Academy

    On March 9, 1862, just three days shy of his 44th birthday, Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden was fighting the battle of his life. The ship he commanded -- the iron-plated USS Monitor -- had just arrived in the waters outside Hampton Roads, Virginia. Its mission: to turn back another armored vessel, the CSS Virginia (often known by its previous name, the Merrimack), which had sunk two Union frigates the day before and was threatening the North's naval blockade.

    Shortly after noon, following hours of heavy volleys back and forth, the Virginia aimed its fire at the pilothouse of the Monitor, where Worden was directing the fight. A shell exploded, temporarily blinding the Lieutenant. His injuries were so severe that he had to relinquish command. But the Monitor kept fighting, forcing the Virginia to withdraw and preserving the blockade, the Union fleet, and ultimately, the Union itself.

    An Elegant Tribute. News of the world's first ironclad battle spread quickly, electrifying the nation and forever changing the history of naval warfare. It also made John Worden a hero. President Lincoln himself visited the injured lieutenant. Worden's home state of New York paid tribute to its native son as well -- in a grand way. It commissioned from Tiffany & Co. an ornate, finely crafted 37-inch sword, inlaid with gold and silver. Its handle was emblazoned with the Roman God of the Sea, Neptune. And with it came a gold-plated sheath and gold-embroidered belt. All together, the set cost some $550, a hefty sum in those days.

    The Theft. Worden's star continued to rise. He served as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy and ended his career as Rear Admiral. Fifteen years after his death in 1912, the family donated the sword and other items to the U.S. Naval Academy museum. Then in 1931, the sword -- already considered priceless because of its link to the infamous ironclad battle -- vanished. The Navy's investigation came to nought.

    How was the Sword Found? In 1998, FBI art theft experts in Philadelphia began investigating the shady dealings of several appraisers on the hit PBS series, the Antiques Roadshow. By 2002, three men were in jail for engaging in more than $1 million worth of memorabilia fraud. But FBI Agents didn't stop there. They pored over the voluminous records of the appraisers, file-by-file, looking for more stolen treasures or phony deals. Late last year, they found records on the Worden sword, which had been bought by an appraiser and then resold to a collector. The Agents contacted the U.S. Naval Academy, discovered the sword was stolen, and tracked it down. On Monday, the sword was returned to the Naval Academy in Annapolis by the FBI.

    The FBI's Advice For Collectors: Two words: due diligence. When buying a priceless work of art, make sure you know its history. It is a federal offense to obtain by theft or fraud any object of cultural heritage from a museum. For more information, see the FBI's Art Theft website.


    State of Arkansas 

    84th General Assembly

    Second Extraordinary Session, 2003

    HMR 1008

    By: Representatives Martin, Bradford, Childers





    WHEREAS, the tremendously successful political consultant Jerry Lewis Russell, Jr., born July 21, 1933, in Little Rock, Arkansas, died in Little Rock on December 5, 2003, at the age of seventy (70); and

    WHEREAS, Russell was a loving husband to Alice Anne Cason Russell, a loving father to Leigh Anne Russell, Jerry L. "Sam" Russell, III, Susan Frances Russell, and Andrew J. Russell, III, a loving grandfather to Chris Russell, Andrew J. Russell, IV, Ethan Lewis Russell, Marc Miller, D.A. Miller, and Sarah Broaddrick, and a loving great grandfather to Bethany Anne Russell; and

    WHEREAS, Russell served his country faithfully in the Korean Conflict; and

    WHEREAS, Jerry Russell was a master of both the written and spoken word, a champion of history, and frequent ally to the political underdog; and

    WHEREAS, Russell put on workshops for political candidates and made presentations on political topics to audiences nationwide; and

    WHEREAS, Russell, a former columnist for the Arkansas Democrat, edited and published a monthly informational letter called Grass Roots Campaigning about political techniques, psychology, and philosophy; Short Takes, a monthly newsletter about media, politics, advertising, and people in Arkansas; and three (3) historical newsletters; and wrote a monthly column, "Grass Roots Campaigning", in the Kentucky Gazette; and

    WHEREAS, Russell was also extremely active in the preservation and protection of Civil War and Indian War historic sites, served as founder and chairman of numerous historical societies such as The Confederate Historical Institute and Civil War Round Table Associates, and has been honored by organizations throughout the United States for his leadership on behalf of Civil War historic preservation; and

    WHEREAS, Russell was a highly successful political consultant and trusted confidant to candidates he determined had the toughness and commitment to run for political office, winning over seventy percent (70%) of his races; and 

    WHEREAS, Russell consistently reminded us that "all politics is local", and that public service is a high calling; and

    WHEREAS, Russell changed the way political campaigns were run and will forever be remembered for his campaign jingles that we could not help but recall again and again during election season; and

    WHEREAS, Russell was a giant among political animals, political consultants, political educators, political historians, and political writers,

    THAT the House of Representatives of the Eighty-Fourth General Assembly honors the memory of Jerry Russell with grateful appreciation for his contributions to history and politics.

    We Who Study Must Also Strive To Save!

    Don't forget, our 40th birthday will be in March. 

    for Dr. Tom DeBlack

    AND REMEMBER---2004 dues are due and are $15!