Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table

Education and Preservation



Captain Frank Gurley

Turning Points, 1863


Economics & the Homefront, 1863


The Military Situation in 1863


Armistead and Garnett – Parallel Lives


Siege of Vicksburg: Presentation and Lecture Notes

“This Place Matters”

Tuesday, April 30, 2pm
205 Eastside Square

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

Roundtables Teach American Heritage

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.


Retired Lt. Col. Ed Kennedy

New Market resident

Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table’s 25th Anniversary: Book Sale, Music, Dessert

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

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

January 25, 2018, ​Little Round Table

January 25, 2018

General Ben Butler

Led by Emil Posey

January 11, 2018 Round Table Meeting: Gladys Sherrer, “Trapped in the Crossfire”

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.

November 9, 2017 Round Table Meeting: Phil Bording, James Buchanan Eads-Pioneer Engineer in the 1800’s

Information TBD

October 12, 2017 Round Table Meeting: David Lady and John Scales, “Stones River”

Information TBD

July 27, 2017 Little Round Table

July 27, 2017

J William Rosecrans

Presented by Ed Hennessee

September 14, 2017 Round Table Meeting: Philip Leigh, “Confederacy at Flood Tide”

Philip Leigh
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.

Phil’s latest Civil War book, The Confederacy at Flood Tide, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

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:

  1. “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
  1. “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
  1. “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

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