Mayor Battle and local officials will kick off Huntsville’s 2019 annual historic preservation campaign, which runs during May. He will proclaim that “This Place Matters” at the formerly-hidden, mid-1800s brick sidewalk.
The Huntsville-Madison Historical Society and The Historic Huntsville Foundation partnered with city departments and Berry Baugh Allen of Baugh Art, to design, fabricate, and install a modern viewing structure. It replaces the heavily weathered box that stood over the old sidewalk since 1974.
High school students from the theater department of Randolph School will mingle as characters from Huntsville’s early days, in honor of the Alabama Bicentennial, 1819-2019. A short tour of the ornate lobby of the former Elbert H. Parsons Law Library may be available as time allows.
The public is cordially invited.
Questions? Carol Codori, 256-293-0075 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Begun in Chicago in 1941, “Civil War Round Tables” are historical study organizations that are independent of each other. The name “Round Table” connotes a setting where discussions and presentations occur, not a physical, round table. Organized as IRS 501(c)(3) entities, Round Tables are sited all-around the country by those interested in the study of the American War Between the States. The local “Round Table” is the Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table founded in 1993 and celebrated its 25th anniversary this summer. The purpose of the organization is to provide a forum for nonpartisan study, education and discussions concerning the American War Between the States and to support the preservation of Civil War battlefields with related activities.
Round Table members are a varied lot with professional historians, amateur historians and people who just enjoy history. Members’ backgrounds are varied as well with a mix of blue and white collar workers of all ages. As an example, President Harry Truman was one of the founders of the Kansas City Civil War Round Table because of his personal interest in his family’s participation in the war. In order to encourage membership by younger people in the Tennessee River Valley, special dispensation is granted for dues by high schoolers (free membership).
Monthly programs include presentations by a number of different speakers on a wide variety of topics dealing with the period of 1861-65. It is not all about battles, operations and tactics but presentations cover other issues such as technology, personal biographies of participants and sociological issues. Noted authors and historians frequently travel from around the country to present to the Round Tables.
Every year, the TVCWRT conducts a field trip to historical sites related to the war. This October, a two-day visit to northern Mississippi will follow the campaigns and battles of Gen. Nathan B. Forrest in the defense of the state in 1864. The visit is based on the recently published book, “The Battles and Campaigns of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest 1861-1865” by TVCWRT member (and former president), retired Brig. Gen. John Scales, Ph.D. The trip will allow participants to actually visit a number of battles and engagements sites of the studied period and is open to the public with priority to Round Table members.
Surprisingly, despite decades of existence, there are those who have never heard of Round Tables. For professional military personnel, Round Tables provide a great way to learn military history so applicable to the military profession. In fact, foreign military officers have frequented Round Tables including a visit by an attaché stationed in Washington, D.C., to the TVCWRT. Many foreign military officers see value in studying our “Civil War” and the international officers at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, all take an elective on the war culminating in a trip to Gettysburg annually.
The war spanned four years, covered thousands of miles of territory, and involved millions of Americans. It remains a significant defining event in our national history. Hundreds of new books are published each year about the war and the Civil War Round Tables provide a valuable venue through which intellectual knowledge about our American history can be shared. Visitors and guests are always welcome to attend the meetings and hopefully, become members. The TVCWRT meets the second Thursday of every month at the Elks Lodge at 725 Franklin St. in Huntsville.
Plan to join us and bring friends to our special monthly meeting on Thursday evening, May 10.
It’s our 25th anniversary! Come early and stay late! Wear your period dress!
Who: Our meetings are free and open to the public. This month, our regular “battlefield bucket” free-will donation will be offered to honor our special guests, the Huntsville Traditional Music Association. HTMA preserves our history by studying, preserving and playing period music and instruments for all to enjoy. Our speaker Mike Coker from Charleston, SC, will be described in a separate email to members. Details about his topic will be posted on our web at www.tvcwrt.org
What: In addition to our expert speaker, we’ll be celebrating our 25-plus years as a Round Table. We’ve lined up some special treats, including period music, our annual book sale, and free birthday dessert.
When: NOTE we’ve changed the schedule slightly to accommodate additional activities. Please try to be seated by 6:15 to enjoy the music.
5:30-6:30 Annual book sale–with bargains on diverse-era history books galore
5:30 Chicken buffet opens (for separate charge)
6:15-6:45 Civil War era string music by Round Table members of HTMA, including Dan Charles, Marcia Chesebro, Bill Cassels, and their guest singers
6:45-7 Welcome and appreciation to founding and long-time members of the Round Table
7-8:15 Speaker, Q and A, and drawing for Nick’s Ristorante gift certificate
8:15-9 Free dessert and more book sale time
Where: Elks Lodge, 725 Franklin St., Huntsville, AL, 35801
AMERICA HAS STRUGGLED for its identity since before the Revolution, even as a central theme of freedom has threaded its way through each generation’s vision for our country. The Civil War illuminated our inability to define freedom because it meant different things for slave or master, North or South, and rich or poor. As always, those in power determined the path for the rest, and violence tore apart America and its families. The fog of war and the malevolence of slavery had husbands, their wives and children Trapped in the Crossfire.
As author Gladys Hodge Sherrer so eloquently narrates, the endurance of family is a strength that not only tests us during peace but keeps us together during evil times. The author diligently stitches together the true story of her family, the Williams of South Carolina and then Alabama, based on her research over several years.
This is a haunting tale that reminds us of the dangers of pompous entrenchment and dark reaction to the stresses of change, as true today as it was before our nation’s greatest test. The story also shows how soldiers endured battle and hardship, even as they worried about those they left behind. It is a testament to the vigor of family and the need for pulling together, instead of pushing apart. Only then do we refuse to be Trapped in the Crossfire.
3911 W. San Pedro
Tampa, Florida 33629
Phil Leigh was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and has mostly worked as a computer industry stock analyst. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and an MBA from Northwestern University.
From 2012 to 2015 he has contributed twenty-four articles to The New York Times Disunion Series, which commemorated the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. He was one of Disunion’s most frequent contributors.
In 2013 Westholme Publishing released an annotated and illustrated version of the memoirs of Confederate Private Sam Watkins entitled, “Company Aytch: A Classic Memoir of the Civil War” for which Phil wrote the Foreword and Annotations.
In May 2014 Westholme published Phil’s Civil War book, “Trading With the Enemy“, which is about intersectional commerce between the North and South during the Civil War.
In May 2015 Westholme released his second Civil War book, “Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies”
In May 2016 Westholme published his third Civil War book, “The Confederacy at Flood Tide”
Two more of Phil’s self-published Civil War books are: “Three Months in the Southern States: Illustrated and Annotated” and “Olustee and Florida’s Cattle Wars” The first one is the diary of a British officer who observed the War during the pivotal summer of 1863 and includes 178 annotations by Phil. The second is a “Kindle Single” of 22-pages that narrates Florida’s Civil War history during the second half of the War.
You may purchase a signed hardcover copy from Phil by sending a check for $28.00 payable to him at the address above.
Should you add a note explaining how your interest in the Civil War developed, Phil can augment the signature with a personal remark. Please also be sure to provide your return address.
The Confederacy at Flood Tide title was selected to distinguish the book from the popular notion of the Confederacy at High Tide, which is associated with Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. But the story of the Confederacy’s most opportune time for winning independence during 1862 involved developments in Europe, Virginia, Washington, Maryland, Kentucky, Mississippi and even Missouri and Arkansas.
Moreover, the Confederacy’s flood tide was not limited to military factors. It also swelled within the sectors of diplomacy, politics, and espionage. For example, the Confederacy never came closer to diplomatic recognition than in the autumn of 1862. After learning of the Union rout at Second Bull Run, in mid-September British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston was considering British mediation for a peace settlement that would recognize the Confederacy as an independent state.
As one of the weapons Lincoln used to reverse the Confederate tide, the Emancipation Proclamation was more controversial than is commonly supposed. Major General George McClellan, among other prominent Union leaders, believed it was a deliberate attempt to incite a slave rebellion in the South. Europe more readily accepted his interpretation, where it was feared the proclamation might trigger a genocidal race war in other parts of the Western Hemisphere thereby disrupting the Atlantic trade. Finally, even President Lincoln admitted the possibility that it might provoke such insurrections in the South shortly before he issued the proclamation.
The Confederacy at Flood Tide combines the multifaceted developments from mid-June through mid-December 1862 into an integrated narrative that brings a new perspective to the overworked accounts of the past.
The Confederacy at Flood Tide Reviews:
“Philip Leigh has done it once again. With The Confederacy at Flood Tide, he interweaves narrative and analysis to upend our conventional wisdom about the rise and fall of the South’s fortunes during the Civil War. A must read for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of those critical months in 1862, when the South could, for just a moment, see the possibility of victory.” – Clay Risen, The New York Times
“Philip Leigh has produced a highly-readable history of a crucial period of the Civil War. It is a fine synthesis of secondary sources, lavishly provided with maps which help keep the reader oriented and informed. He gives the reader a solid grounding of the battles, linked with a valuable discussion of how the leaders, both military and political, effected them. Perhaps the most interesting part of this work is the way in which Leigh places the events he discusses into the global context, connecting what was happening in the U.S. with public opinion, government policies, and social forces in Europe and Mexico. This is a fine addition to the current scholarship of the war.” – Frank Varney, author of General Grant and the Rewriting of History
“Phil Leigh’s new book,The Confederacy at Flood Tide, does a fine job of describing the chronological slice of the American Civil War from June to December 1862. This format ties together the far-flung theaters of war and the contemporaneous political situation, which emphasizes the interconnections among them, while the limited time frame allows this to be done in far greater detail than any volume covering the entire conflict. Mr. Leigh does not accept offhand the standard versions presented as history, but drills into the events without preconceptions, the better to determine causes and impacts.” – Joseph Rose, author of Grant Under Fire
THURSDAY, 10 August 2017will be the next meeting
of the Tennessee Valley Civil War Roundtable!
Elks Club at 5:30 pm.Come have supper with us and socialize before the meeting —“fellowshipping”. If you like Southern food, the Elks have it!
Elks Club at 6:30 pm. Program
SUBJECT: “Guntersville Teenage Civil War Diarist: Catherine Fennell” by Whitney Snow
Catherine Margaret Fennell, born 5 December1842, was the daughter of James and Matilda Fennell who lived near Fort Deposit close to Guntersville, AlabamaHer father was a skilled physician who also owned a large plantation and about seventeen slaves.Though one of ten children, Catherine was sent to Norton’s Boarding School in Washington, D.C.It is there, in 1859, that she began keeping a diary.The first “book,” as she called it, ranged from studies and trips to the White House, Senate, House, and Smithsonian to shopping, gossip, and teenage angst.In many ways, these entries show a child preoccupied with indulgences like bonnets and ice cream, but in others about ill friends and political observations, they depict an observant young woman who was wise beyond her years.
It is the second “book,” however, in which Catherine rapidly transitions from girl to woman as she faces the perplexity and terror brought by the Civil War.The war held many tragedies for Catherine as her home town was destroyed, not once, but twice by the Federals. The lost of her immediate family and home as a result of the war was a microcosm of what many Southerners suffered.
She also provides a detailed description of the war in Guntersville.When the war finally ended, a dejected Catherine wrote until 24 June 1865 and abruptly stopped.On 27 December 1866, she married Andrew Esslingerand later had six sons and one daughter.Sadly, on October 9, 1884, at just 42 years of age, Catherine died of pneumonia.
Come hear the rest of this interesting story by Whitney Snow at the 10 August meeting.
We enjoyed a fine turn-out of the LRT members and invited guests for our June topic: Union General William Rosecrans…known as “Ole Rosey” to his soldiers. Bob Hennessee (our Preservation Officer) led the discussion and guided us to consider that Rosecrans may have been unfairly maligned by his fellow generals after the war and especially by the historians of the mid-twentieth century, who minimized his accomplishments while emphasizing the events of the Battle of Chickamauga that caused his defeat and relief from command.
General Rosecrans was a West Pointer who resigned from the Army to pursue opportunities in industry and technology. He secured a number of patents and had success in the Pennsylvania oil industry, but suffered serious facial burns in a coal-oil lamp experiment. Rejoining the Army in 1861, Rosecrans had early success as a commander in West Virginia against General Robert E. Lee and became a hero in the Northern press as a result of his victory in the Second Battle of Corinth, Mississippi. Command of the Army of the Cumberland followed, and Rosecrans seized most of Tennessee for the Union through the Stones River and Tullahoma Campaigns of 1863. He was even considered as President Lincoln’s running mate for the 1864 “Union Party” (Rosecrans was a ‘War Democrat’).
Bob revealed that Rosecrans’ successes can be attributed to his ability as a careful planner, an innovative logistician, and to his inspiring presence on the battlefield. However, these early victories also revealed Rosecrans’ faults as a commander: His outspoken criticism of political and military superiors, his unwillingness to move against the enemy before all logistical arrangements were perfected, his preference for very complicated campaign plans, and his slowness to attack on the battlefield. Bob also illustrated Rosecrans’ poor man-management skills (favoritism, publicly humiliating errant subordinates, even religious bigotry) and his habit of jumping his own chain of command to give orders to very junior commanders, often further confusing his subordinates during battle. A good deal of discussion, focused by our medical experts, Doug Everett and Curtis Adams, on the consequences of Rosecrans’ insomnia and manic-depressive personality traits for his battlefield performance. By the time of his defeat along Chickamauga Creek, Rosecrans was physically and emotionally used up and had used up the good will of his political and military leaders.
At the end of the evening, the opinion of Rosecrans remained mixed, but Bob had convinced all of the justice done by those recent historical publications that accurately point out his many contributions to the ultimately successful conclusion of the War for Reunion.
Frances Osborn Robb has been researching the history of photography in Alabama for more than twenty-five years. A native of Birmingham, she holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College, the University of North Carolina, and Yale University. She has taught at Texas Christian University, the University of North Texas, and the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee. She has curated and judges exhibitions, written for scholarly and popular publications, and examined more than 200,000 Alabama photographs. Her book, Shot in Alabama: A History of Photography, 1839-1941, and a List of Photographers, was published in January 2017 by the University of Alabama Press.
Robb’s presentation will discuss photography in Alabama during the Civil War, the subject of a chapter in her new book. Robb will show examples of likenesses, views, and event photographs that were made in Alabama, as well as Alabama-associated photographs that were taken of Alabamians at duty stations or encampments outside the state. These photographs range from images of militia groups organizing for war, likenesses made for military men to leave behind them for their loved ones, encampment photographs, and images that show the context of the war as experienced in Alabama. Program participants may bring original or copy photographs with them for Robb to examine and comment on after her program.